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Report of the Secretary-General (S/2002/1053).
The meeting resumed at 3.15 p.m.
The President (spoke in French ): .... The next speaker on my list is the representative of Israel. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Lancry (Israel): ...
In our region, we are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of the illicit traffic in small arms. Though the spirit and the letter of the Oslo agreements greatly restrict the number and type of weapons permitted to the Palestinian Authority, we remain perpetually at risk due to the dangerous violation of these accords.
In the early morning of 3 January 2002, the Israel Defense Forces seized a ship called the Karine A, carrying 50 tons of weapons and ammunition bound for the Palestinian territories. The ship contained an enormous cache of weaponry that would have significantly elevated the ability of Palestinian terrorists to kill and maim Israeli civilians. Among the weapons found were a large number of rockets, mortars and launchers; anti-tank weaponry, mines and explosives; and other types of light weaponry, including sniper rifles, assault rifles and hand grenades. The Karine A and the weapons discovered aboard it were financed by the Palestinian Authority with the assistance of other States in the region.
The use of boats to carry weapons intended for terrorist use, without any country accepting responsibility, is a phenomenon that should be declared unacceptable by the international community.
Furthermore, last April, in the course of Operation Defensive Shield, Israel seized nearly 2,000 Kalashnikov rifles, almost 400 sniper rifles and over 2,000 long rifles from Palestinian terrorists. These weapons are in addition to the pistols, mortars, grenades, launchers, bombs and other explosive devices that Israeli forces discovered. Much of this weaponry was purchased with the help of other regimes in the Middle East. It hardly needs to be mentioned that these weapons are intended not for defensive purposes but to escalate the terrorist campaign against the citizens of Israel and that they serve only to create ever-greater obstacles along the path to peace and reconciliation. Many of the weapons seized were subsequently destroyed.
We wish to take this opportunity to call upon our neighbours and all the countries in the region to adopt a responsible policy and to take the necessary measures to stop the flow of arms from their territories to terrorist groups. We expect the international community to join us in that call. The result of this flow of arms is the fuelling of the conflict by increasing the amount of illegal arms in terrorist hands, thereby adding to human suffering, animosity and instability in the region. Terrorism, after all, is only viable if countries allow, and even support, its fortification by weapons transfers.
The Security Council, as the body now charged with coordinating the international efforts against terrorism, must also address the role of arms proliferation in terrorist activities. Specifically, in the context of the counter-terrorist measures it is requiring of all States, the Council must issue a call for the implementation of measures to prevent arms from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Israel continues to face threats to its very existence, as well as a regional build-up of conventional weapons. We therefore have consistently attached great importance to confronting overall proliferation threats and challenges, including small arms, and have placed counter-proliferation high on Israel’s security agenda. We share the efforts of like-minded States to place this issue at the top of the arms control agenda. We also believe that cooperation and coordination at the international level should be strengthened in the continuing fight against proliferation.
The meeting rose at 7.25 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council . Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-178.