Statement by Ambassador Yaakov Levy
On the Question of a Special Sitting concerning Ahmed Yassin

60th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights
Geneva, 23 March 2004

Mr. Chairperson, distinguished delegates,

If you vote to hold this special sitting, it will be the first time in the history of the United Nations that a session is dedicated to lauding, supporting, glorifying a major leader of a terrorist organization.  A new low, the worst ever. Every man and woman of conscience, any objective follower of this debate will cringe in horror, recoil in disgust that a UN body devoted to upholding human rights would, in effect, support the terrible wrongs the Hamas, under sheik Yassin, has committed.

When Maria Tagilchev, a 14 year old from Netanya, was assassinated by the orders of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the head of the Hamas, in the Dolphinarium bombing in Tel Aviv, 1 June 2001, together with 20 other young people, this Commission did not dedicate a special sitting to debate, resolve or denounce the slaughter of 21 innocent Israeli children.

When Perla Hermele, a 79 year old woman from Sweden, was murdered together with 29 other innocent civilians and 140 were wounded while celebrating the religious Passover, seder feast, at the Park Hotel in Netanya on 27 March 2002, on the direct orders of Ahmed Yassin, the OIC did not move for a special sitting.
 
When 11-year-old Galila Bugala was murdered, along with 18 other Israelis, while riding a bus in Jerusalem on 18 June 2002, again on the orders of Ahmed Yassin, the Arab League did not consider it worthy of a special sitting.

When 30-year-old Maurice Tubul was blown to pieces along with 9 others in a double suicide bombing at the Ashdod port on 14 March 2004, no one called for a special sitting. 

When the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was assassinated, along with 17 others, by suicide bombers in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, member delegates in this hall did not clamour for a special sitting.
 
When more than 140 people were killed during in sectarian attacks in Iraq on 2 March 2004, A’shura, the holiest day on the Shia calendar, no Arab delegation raised its voice and called for a special sitting of the Commission.

The bias and distorted standards manifested in this Commission year after year, and in an increasing manner since the beginning of it deliberations last Friday, once again express themselves in a request for the third consecutive special sitting or session on human rights related to Israel since October 2000.  Even though in this time span we have witnessed ghastly acts of brutal terrorism and indiscriminate attacks in which hundreds and thousands of innocents, not necessarily in our region, were slaughtered by
terrorists, at no time did the OIC lobby for a special sitting.

Distinguished delegates,
I ask you to ponder the reason why is a special sitting demanded only in the case when some parties here, most of which are renowned for human rights violations, who can command a majority, constantly desire to place Israel in the dock under one pretext or another? 

Ahmed Yassin founded the Hamas and led this terrorist radical organization, a central element in the fabric of global terrorism, whose primary defined goal and ideological credo call for a violent Jihad for the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of an Islamic Palestine "from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River" through violence, i.e. the elimination of the State of Israel.  Yesterday, a Palestinian observer misquoted me as saying that the Palestinian goal was the destruction of Israel.  I said nothing of the sort.  Others did- like Ahmed Yassin. But why go outside this hall for evidence or take my word for it?  Trust your own eyes.  Just take a look at the heading on which the Palestinian observer’s statement is printed and at the map of "Palestine".  The map takes up all the land between Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.  There is no place for Israel on a map distributed in this very hall.

Yassin, this leading perpetrator of terrorist activity maintains a complex organizational, financial, and operational infrastructure as well as a military apparatus deployed not just in Gaza but throughout the world, supported financially and otherwise by two governments present in this hall, Iran and Syria.
 
Ahmed Yassin personally approved dozens of major suicide bombings within the context of his personal responsibility for Hamas strategies-wholesale suicide terrorism in which hundreds of Israelis were killed, thousands injured.
 
When Hamas, under the leadership of Ahmed Yassin recruited and trained women
and young children, armed with suicide belts to be detonated either through their own will or through remote control, this body did not demand a special sitting to condemn the abuse of women and young children by their own people, nor the virulent incitement to hatred and death by Hamas leaders during sermons in mosques, and in children’s schools and summer-camps
.
When Yassin and other leaders of the Hamas sent other children – other children, not their own children of course, and not members of their family – to commit suicide bombings, I didn’t see a clamour in this hall to hold a special sitting. 

Hamas and Yassin produced and launched, sometimes on a daily basis, Kassam rockets against Israeli villages and towns.  Nobody condemned them and asked for a special sitting.

So Mr. Chairperson, distinguished delegates,
When a prominent practitioner of international terrorism like Yassin, a chilling example of a cynical manipulator of the lives of his followers under the guise of a so-called "spiritual leader" distorts lofty religious principles in order to recruit suicide bombers including women and children to embark on so-called "holy war" missions and murder as many Israelis as possible , why is this the only occasion for asking for a special
sitting?

Distinguished delegates,
I strongly urge you to vote against the holding of such a biased special sitting that only serves as another occasion for distorted standards, wild accusations, and inflammatory speech. Do not lend your voice and hand to further reducing and degradation of the credibility of this Commission and the UN as a whole.

Thank you.