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        Security Council
4 April 2003

Security Council
Fifty-eighth year
4734th meeting
Friday, 4 April 2003, 10.30 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. Aguilar Zinser (Mexico)
Members:Angola Mr. Gaspar Martins
Bulgaria Mr. Tafrov
Cameroon Mr. Tidjani
Chile Mr. Valdés
China Mr. Wang Yingfan
France Mr. De La Sablière
Germany Mr. Pleuger
Guinea Mr. Traoré
Pakistan Mr. Akram
Russian Federation Mr. Lavrov
Spain Mr. Arias
Syrian Arab Republic Mr. Mekdad
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mr. Steven
United States of America Mr. Williamson


Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts

The meeting was called to order at 10.40 a.m.


Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts


The President (spoke in Spanish ): The next speaker inscribed 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. Gillerman (Israel): Allow me at the outset to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the month of April and to express our appreciation for the impressive stewardship of the Council by your predecessor.

Israel and I personally would like to pay tribute to the outgoing Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), Sir Jeremy Greenstock of Great Britain, for his skilful and inspiring leadership. In the difficult months after the horrific attacks of 11 September 2001, the Counter-Terrorism Committee, under the leadership of Ambassador Greenstock, embarked on an important initiative to assist and monitor State implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). His country’s leadership should be duly applauded for the vanguard role it has assumed in the global campaign against terrorism.

We wish Ambassador Greenstock’s successor, the Ambassador of Spain, Inocencio Arias, every success in this crucial global effort and assure him of Israel’s full cooperation.

To many countries around this table, terrorism is fortunately still a virtual or theoretical matter, but Israel speaks from bitter personal experience. We are the victims of a very real and bloody daily ritual; the victims of the most brutal, evil, cynical terror directed at our children and at our very future. At my last talk before the Security Council on 20 February, I spoke of this future. I expressed the hope that my grandson’s nursery school would no longer require the protection of armed guards against vicious and deliberate attacks. I expressed the hope that terrorism would cease.

Unfortunately, the terrorism in Israel has continued. It is with a heavy and mournful heart that I recount these recent immoralities. Just last Sunday, a depraved suicide attack was perpetrated in the peaceful coastal city of Netanya against innocent civilians. Ramadan Shallah, Secretary-General of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad, which operates freely from Damascus, Syria, aided by a member of this Council, proudly claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement issued from his Damascus office, Shallah vowed to carry out more attacks.

On 5 March, in an attack described by United Nations Special Coordinator Terje Roed-Larsen just recently as an act of mass murder and an outrageous waste of life, a suicide bomb ripped apart a public bus in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. The bus was filled with young children and students en route to Haifa University. Seventeen were killed and 53 wounded, many of them civilians, by the powerful bomb, laden with metal shrapnel in order to maximize the extent of human injuries. In addition to these and other atrocious attacks, innumerable incidents of terror are thwarted on a daily basis by Israeli counter-terrorism efforts.

Terrorism kills indiscriminately. Terrorism knows no border, nationality, race, age or religion. Terrorism poses a threat to all free peoples, and therefore there must be no distinction between good and bad terrorism, between the military and social wings of terrorist organizations. It is immoral to abuse the noble lexicon of freedom to justify the mass murder of innocents and to excuse these abhorrent acts for the advancement of a political agenda. Repeated resolutions and declarations of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General uphold the principle that any deliberate targeting of civilians for political ends is wrong, unjustifiable and immoral, regardless of cause or circumstance.

As the world was horrifically reminded on 11 September, if the fires of terrorism rage anywhere, they pose a threat to peace and security everywhere. Terrorism is epidemic, and any attempt to douse one flame, one flare-up of this pervasive threat, while expressing sympathy or understanding for another will only undermine our efforts. Rather, we must strike at its core: at regimes that nourish the germ of terror through their support, inaction and complicity; at regimes with the ability to transfer biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to terrorists who have no compunctions regarding their use; and at regimes like those in Iran and Syria, a member of this body, that actively support terrorism to further their agenda, poking a finger into the eye of the CTC while raising another in support of its efforts.

I encourage the CTC to exhibit the courage to name and shame those States that continue to support terrorism and compel every State to undertake a sincere and irrevocable commitment to eradicating terrorism from its own soil. I am encouraged that the call to name and shame has today been reinforced. I hope it will become the mantra of the CTC.

In accordance with resolution 1373 (2001), the members of the international community must take active and aggressive measures to destroy the financial and organizational infrastructure of terrorism and to address the venomous incitement that is pervasive in the media and in the educational, religious and political institutions of certain States.

The germ of terror is nourished by the inculcation of fundamentalist, intolerant and rejectionist ideologies. The glorification of murder as martyrdom is a gravely flawed moral sanction for acts of mass murder. No child, no baby, is born into this world wanting to be a suicide bomber. In our region, we are faced with countless crude and unmistakable examples of how incitement kills. Children’s textbooks should not serve as manuals for hate.

Government-sanctioned incitement that nourishes and sustains the terrorist agenda violates the most basic human rights obligations of States. Our efforts to combat terrorism and to implement resolution 1373 (2001) must focus not only on the practical support provided to its perpetrators, but on the intolerant ideology that nurtures the phenomenon itself.

Another emerging threat is posed by shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles capable of destroying civilian aircraft at low altitudes. This threat was made clear just a few months ago in Mombasa, Kenya, when terrorists narrowly missed bringing down an Israeli civilian airplane. This potentially catastrophic attack, along with recent warnings of similar planned attacks in other cities, underscores the necessity for States to take urgent action to curb the proliferation of these weapons and the access of terrorist groups to them. We welcome the adoption of resolution 1450 (2002) condemning the attacks in Kenya and we urge the CTC to work towards the adoption of a universal standard to defend against these weapons.

Man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) present the international counter-terrorism community with one of its deepest crises ever, requiring worldwide cooperation and coordination. The danger posed by MANPADS is particularly great because of their unique qualities: not only are they small, cheap and easy to operate, but they enjoy freedom of location, time, target and scale of operation. Terrorists know no limits, and none of us are immune to their threat.

Professionals in the aviation security field are already working to combat the MANPADS threat and deserve the full backing of States. We believe that this support should include investing in defensive onboard technological systems, as well as tightening security control over airport perimeters. Israel believes it is critical that efforts to strengthen aviation security be complemented by stronger controls over MANPADS themselves. To ensure the success of efforts to prevent terrorist access to MANPADS, selling States should bear the responsibility of verifying end-user identity. In addition, purchasing States must shoulder primary responsibility for those systems’ security, storage, transfer, maintenance and monitoring. Furthermore, we would encourage the establishment of an international assistance programme to help countries combat the danger of MANPADS falling into terrorist hands.

As a nation that has endured a terrible human loss to the perils of terrorism since its establishment, we support the noble efforts of the CTC and believe that intensive international cooperation is a critical weapon in the counter-terrorist arsenal. Israel stands ready and willing to continue to share its knowledge and expertise, learned from bitter experience, and to collaborate in joint efforts aimed at coordinating and strengthening our collective response.

In doing so, we hope that the CTC will continue to take an increasingly proactive role in implementing a policy of zero tolerance for terrorism. In the wake of this global threat, we cannot confuse paperwork with progress. Clearly, enhancing the legislative and administrative tools available to States for fighting terrorism, and capacity-building in general, are crucial to our efforts. But the real test will always be the implementation of commitments on the ground. The filing of lengthy State reports cannot be allowed to serve as a cover for those States determined to persist in supporting and glorifying terrorism. Part of the CTC’s mandate under resolution 1373 (2001) should be to test Member States’ compliance not just on paper but in practice.

Despite the daily threat of terrorism that plagues our region and the existence of regimes that adopt terrorism as a means to advance their political agenda, we remain resolved to overcome the devastating impact of suicide bomb attacks, which endanger both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

Even in these dark times, we continue to believe that the day will come when we and our children will enjoy the fruits of peace. That dream leaves me hopeful. I hope that the upcoming changes in the Palestinian leadership will finally provide us with a real partner for a secure peace. Israel hopes that those changes will lead to concerted action to dismantle terrorist infrastructure, delegitimize terrorist groups and eliminate incitement.

By fighting terrorism wherever it breeds, by a determined commitment to peace and to the end of violence and hateful incitement, we can look forward to peace and a better future for us all.

The President ( spoke in Spanish ): There are speakers inscribed on my list that have not yet had the opportunity to speak. In view of the lateness of the hour, and with the consent of the members of the Council, I shall now suspend the meeting. The Council will continue its consideration of the item on its agenda this afternoon at 3.30 p.m.

The meeting was suspended at 1.30 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-154A.

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