Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

19 July 2001

Fifty-fifth General Assembly
108th Meeting (AM)



The statement by the representative of Israel to the General Assembly, in exercise of the right of reply, which appeared in Press Release GA/9893 of 13 July, on pages eight and nine, should have read as follows:

Mr. LANCRY (Israel) said his country’s occupation had not just fallen out of the sky. It had come about because of an attempt to eliminate his country in 1967 by a number of States, including Syria. In 1973, Syria made an aborted attempt to “liberate” –- to use that country’s preferred language -- the occupied Golan Heights and, at the same time, repeated its attempt to eliminate Israel. The occupation of Lebanon by Syria at the very least put the latter in the wrong, especially when self-defence and territorial integrity were advanced as reasons.

He said Syria should begin by evacuating Lebanon. That would perhaps put it in a better position to call for the implementation of the principles of international law, which it had been incorrectly invoking. In the situation it found itself, how could Syria afford itself the liberty of criticizing the international community and demand adherence to international law and norms?

In the same context, he continued, he had listened carefully to the voice of the Lebanese representative this morning, which had not been raised against the occupation of his country by Syria. He wanted to know how Syria would have responded had Lebanon brought that issue up. Mr. Lancry said he could only express the desire for Lebanon to reclaim its full sovereignty –- that was a necessary condition for its own internal and external development. It would also enable it deploy its forces along the Lebanese-Israeli border and submit Hezbollah, a terrorist organization if there ever was one, to Lebanese law.

He said Israel would have nothing to do with the Lebanese/Syrian situation if it were not so grave a threat to the security of the entire region. He also regretted having to point out to the Syrian representative the necessary and vital truth -- Israel was not the only State in the region that occupied other territories. Syria, under the pretext of fraternal consultation, had occupied Lebanon.

He said Israel had clearly shown its will for territorial compromise. One such compromise had been adopted with Egypt while a peace agreement had been signed with Jordan. In January 2000, in Shepherd Town, Israel had offered Syria a settlement in which the latter’s territorial integrity would have been fully respected. Syria had declined in the name of its national honour.

Before a prestigious audience of writers in Damascus in February 2000, he continued, Syria had said that Israel’s concept of peace was nothing more than the passage from military conflict to economic, diplomatic and cultural conflict. At the same forum, however, peace, according to Syria, was said to be a shift from one conflict to another. That was very simplistic and totally contradicted what the Secretary-General was proposing in his report on the prevention of armed conflict.

Mr. Lancry reiterated that peace solutions also lay in socio-economic and cultural integration. He asked delegations to consider Article 23 of the Charter on a State’s contribution to international peace when reviewing Syria’s bid for a seat on the Council, and reminded them again that Syria encouraged the terrorist organization, Hezbollah.

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For information media - not an official record