Countering incitement is one of the most effective counter-terrorism tools at our disposal. We must promote education that teaches peace instead of hate and tolerance instead of violence.

 Israel statement on counterterrorism at the Security Council

 

Copyright: Israel Mission to the UN, New York

Thank you, Madam President.

Allow me to thank you for convening this important debate. I would also like to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General for his briefing and the Chairs of the counter-terrorism committees for their briefings this morning.

Madam President,

Yesterday the citizens of Israel woke up to learn that another horrifying terror attack had taken place in Jerusalem. Two Palestinian terrorists stormed a synagogue, attacked the Jewish worshipers and barbarically murdered five people and injured many others.

Three victims were dual Israeli-American citizens and the fourth was Israeli and British. The attack reminded us that terrorism doesn’t distinguish between nationalities. Terrorism is on Israel’s doorstep, but if nations continue to look the other way, terrorism will soon be on their doorsteps also.

In the past 14 years, the rate of global terrorist attacks has increased five times. I want to repeat that – there are five times more terrorist attacks today than there were 14 years ago. The international community can no longer afford to be indifferent. Radical extremism is on the rise and we are losing ground.

In order to defeat terrorism, we must attack its roots namely – its ideology, its sponsors, and the evolving ways in which terrorist groups recruit, operate, and grow.

Madam President,

We cannot defeat terrorism unless we confront the violent ideology of incitement. People do not become terrorists in a vacuum. In the Middle East, hate-fuelled incitement fills schools, mosques, and media. This is particularly evident in Palestinian society.

In the past month, there have been six terror attacks in Israel in which 11 people were killed and dozens more injured. Every one of these attacks has come in the wake of inflammatory statements made by the Palestinian leadership. It celebrates attacks, glorifies murderers, and publishes cartoons encouraging more terror attacks.

Countering incitement is one of the most effective counter-terrorism tools at our disposal. We must promote education that teaches peace instead of hate and tolerance instead of violence.

Madam President,

We cannot defeat terrorism while states continue to sponsor and harbor terrorist groups.

Iran is terrorism’s primary sponsor, financier and trainer. Its proxies – Hezbollah and Hamas – have dispatched hundreds of suicide bombers, planted thousands of bombs, and fired tens of thousands of rockets at civilians. Iran’s fingerprints can be found on terror attacks from Argentina to Bulgaria and from Thailand to India.

In Syria, Iran has sent Shiite fighters from Lebanon and Iraq to fight alongside the brutal Assad regime. Directing this network is Qassem Suleimani, the chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force.

In our region, Qatar is also lending financial aid and weapons to countless terrorist groups and providing a base for top terrorist leaders. In recent years, the sheikhs of Doha have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas in Gaza. Every one of Hamas’s rockets and terror tunnels might as well have had a sign that read “Made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar.”

Madam President,

We cannot defeat terrorism unless our counterterrorism efforts evolve to meet the changing threat.

In recent years a new phenomenon has emerged in which terrorist groups are overrunning nations and taking control of vast areas of territory. Hamas, for example, violently expelled its political opponents before taking control of the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah has taken root in Southern Lebanon and amassed over 100,000 weapons stored in densely populated civilian neighborhoods.

ISIS has gained control of tens of thousands of square miles of Syria and Iraq. By taking over vast oil fields, the terrorist group has turned itself into a multimillion-dollar enterprise and uses its newfound wealth to purchase weapons and recruit new fighters.

Terrorist groups like ISIS are attracting jihadists from all over the Middle East and as far away as Europe, Asia and the United States. Many of these foreign fighters are now returning home equipped with radical ideologies, military expertise, and dangerous aspirations.

Israel welcomes Security Council resolution 2178 which addresses the threat of foreign fighters as well as, resolution 2170 which reinforces the need to curtail the financing of terrorism. But this is just the first step. We must match our intentions on paper with tangible action on the ground – beginning by countering the evolving threat of terrorism with creativity and flexibility.

Madam President,

Every day Israel uses its counter-terrorism expertise to keep its citizens safe. Despite the threats that surround us, we will never lose sight of what we are fighting for – freedom, tolerance, and the rule of law. The struggle that we face today is the same struggle that the rest of the civilized world will face tomorrow. Every nation has a stake in the outcome.

As we near the end of 2014, I think about all the lives torn apart by terrorism. The tears and sorrow have touched every part of the world. As we approach the New Year, let us commit to stand together and prevail together so that 2015 will be a more peaceful year for all people.

Thank you, Madam President.