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General Assembly 10th Emergency Special Session
17 November 2006
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
PRESS CONFERENCE BY ISRAEL
The tenth resumed Emergency Session of the General Assembly was being “hijacked, used and abused” by Member States who turned victims into accused and terrorists into victims, Dan Gillerman, Israel’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations, told correspondents this morning during a press conference immediately after his speech to the Assembly.
What was happening in the Assembly Hall was a “farce”, he continued. Last week, Saturday, the Security Council had not adopted a resolution because that text did not address the real problem. Two words were important in the address of the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the Council. The Observer had used the word “occupation”. However, there was no occupation. Israel had left Gaza more than a year ago. The Palestinian Authority had chosen to turn Gaza into a terrorist base. “This bloodshed can end immediately, now, this second,” he said. “If there is no terror, there will be no self-defence, no need for self-defence, and there will be no bloodshed.”
Another word had been missing from the Observer’s speech, Mr. Gillerman added, and that word was “Hamas”. Hamas was the reason for what was happening. It was their declared intention to destroy Israel, but it had not been mentioned in the Council resolution, or in the Assembly resolution. Nor had mention been made of the 1,000 Qassam rockets launched from Gaza after Israel had left. Just days ago, a woman had been killed and two civilians had been seriously injured by one of those rockets. “We will no longer play this game,” he said, explaining that, immediately after his speech in the Assembly, the Israeli delegation as a whole had taken the unusual step of leaving the Hall and addressing the media.
Asked why the Israelis had continued to kill Palestinians after the Palestinians had declared a ceasefire, Mr. Gillerman said the Palestinians had not stopped terror for one day. “At this moment, there are terror attacks being planned by the Palestinians,” he said. The reason why Qatar insisted on a vote on the Security Council resolution last Saturday was not because it was a Qatari provocation to have a vote on the Sabbath, when Israel could not be there, but because Qatar knew then that a new “mega” terror attack was being planned and they did not want a terror attack to spoil their game. Therefore, a vote had to take place quickly. However, he was not accusing Qatar of being an accomplice in terror. Qatar was a moderate State, as vulnerable to terror and extremism as Israel was.
When told by a correspondent that on Friday evening before the vote it had been the United States delegation who had asked for a 24-hour postponement, he said that the United States had asked for a vote on Sunday or Monday, because a veto had not been certain. The delegation had negotiated with Qatar until 15 minutes before the Saturday Council meeting, in the hope of having a more acceptable and balanced resolution.
Asked about the fact that 300 Palestinians had been killed, including a family of 18 some days ago, he said the bloodshed could be stopped immediately. If Palestinians, while targeting Israeli civilians, used their own people as human shields, they had to expect a response. “When we are targeting people, we are targeting people who are planning to execute terror attacks and launch Qassam rockets against our people,” he said. “We are not planning to hit a single civilian.” For Israel, every dead Palestinian child was a mistake and a horrible tragedy, “for them, every dead Israeli child is a victory and a cause for celebration”. The Palestinians killed were victims of the Palestinian Authority. Beit Hanoun, where the family was killed, had been used as a launching pad for 300 Qassam rockets.
Answering questions about Iran’s support for Hizbollah and Hamas, he said Iran had contributed $120 million to Hamas and was funding Hizbollah with more than $100 million a year. Hizbollah was nothing more than “the finger on the long bloody arm and twisted mind of Tehran”. Tehran continuing to send arms to Hizbollah. It was all part of Iran’s quest for “Shia imperialism and the spread of extremism in the Arab world, and fuelling the engine of terror against Israel”. He knew that 30 tons of arms had been smuggled to Gaza last month. New tunnels were being found every day.
Asked if he now thought the price had been right for the actions started after the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, he said those actions had not only been necessary, but had been “our solemn responsibility”. No sovereign country would sit still while a terror organization came across its border and kidnapped its boys. But, Israeli’s actions had changed the pattern of behaviour. Hizbollah’s leader had said that, had he known what would have happened, he would think again. Israel’s clear message was: “Don’t mess with us.” Both Hizbollah and Hamas would think again before doing something like kidnapping Israeli soldiers.
Due to Israeli actions, resolution 1701 (2006) had been adopted, which had resulted in the Lebanese Army being in southern Lebanon, an arms embargo and a robust peacekeeping mission, he continued. Without Israel’s action, that would not have happened. Without Israel’s action, Hizbollah’s action would have been a prelude. It would have been the first confrontation with the Islamic threat of Iran.
Asked about his opinion of the Human Rights Council, he said the Human Rights Council was just a different name for the same animal, the Human Rights Commission. Israel had voted against the establishment of the body, and now its worst nightmares had come true. The Council was a “biased, prejudiced, bigoted body” dedicated to Israel bashing. The world would definitely have been better off without it.
Israel was in the process of building a high-pressure cable to enable Gaza to have electricity, he answered to a question about the rebuilding of a power station in Gaza that had been destroyed by Israel.
In response to another question, Mr. Gillerman denied that Israel was trying to intimidate or harass the French and German battalions in Lebanon. There had been an incident of a plane approaching them, but he was not aware of any reports that there had been a threat of firing at the plane.
Asked if Israel had been aware of any Somalis having gone to Lebanon, he said Israel had been aware of some 700 Somalis having gone to Lebanon, trained by the Iranians. Israel was also aware of a United Nations report that stated that Iran and Syria were continuing to send weapons to Somalia, despite an embargo. Those were just examples of the horror represented by Syria, and especially Iran. Iran had a President who denied the Holocaust, while preparing the next one, and who publicly called for wiping Israel off the face of the map. If that “mad, extreme, fundamentalist, reactionary” regime acquired nuclear weapons, it would be doomsday. He hoped that the international community would show the necessary resolve to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
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For information media • not an official record