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        Security Council
1 January 2003

Security Council
Fifty-eighth year
4710th meeting
Thursday, 20 February 2003, 10 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. Pleuger (Germany)
Members:Angola Mr. Gaspar Martins
Bulgaria Mr. Raytchev
Cameroon Mr. Tidjani
Chile Mr. Maquieira
China Mr. Wang Donghua
France Mr. Florent
Guinea Mr. Zoumanigui
Mexico Mr. Aguilar Zinser
Pakistan Mr. Khalid
Russian Federation Mr. Karev
Spain Mr. Arias
Syrian Arab Republic Mr. Wehbe
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Ms. Howe-Jones
United States of America Mr. Cunningham


Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts


The President : The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Israel, on whom I now call.

Mr. Gillerman (Israel): At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you, Sir, on assuming the presidency for the month of February. I would also like to congratulate your predecessor, the Ambassador of France, for his handling of that very difficult position.

I must tell the Council that I find it very symbolic that my first statement to the Council should be on an issue that has particular resonance for the people and Government of Israel. Since the very moment of its establishment, Israel has been the target of terrorism, perpetrated with the support and sponsorship of extremist elements and regimes operating in various countries in our region. Even after 54 years of independence, the threat of terrorism has hardly abated. On the contrary, terrorism continues to be a daily fact of life for Israelis. The Palestinian campaign of terror persists. It has so far included literally hundreds of attacks and suicide bombings, including the Passover massacre in Netanya and the bombings of a discotheque in Tel Aviv, public buses and shopping centres.

Let me be personal for just one moment and tell the Council about my little grandchild, Ron, who is four years old and attends a kindergarten in the heart of Tel Aviv. Being a very devoted and crazy grandfather, I sometimes chuck everything aside and go to pick him up. Every time I do that, my heart breaks at the sight of the armed guard who stands outside my innocent little four-year-old grandchild’s school to protect him and his fellow children. Israel is the only democracy in the world whose kindergartens, schools, universities, cafes and restaurants have to be protected by armed guards. I take the liberty to say that I am probably the only Ambassador in this room today who confronts an armed guard when he goes to pick up his little grandchild from kindergarten.

For countries blessed to have terrorism remain an abstraction, my country today offers a glimpse into what might be in store if terrorism is not confronted resolutely, with a united front and without fear. In the face of all this, the people of Israel have demonstrated their strength and their resilience by continuing to live their lives and by refusing to succumb to fear. Our real heroes are the bus drivers, students, shoppers and commuters who, while taking all necessary precautions, continue to lead full and vibrant lives.

It is as a result, unfortunately, of Israel’s long experience confronting terrorism that we consider ourselves a natural partner in the intensified campaign to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism undertaken by this Council in the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001. In this connection, I am pleased to inform the Council that the Israeli Government has recently ratified two important anti-terrorism treaties: the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings of 1997 and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 1999.

Israel supports the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), and I would like to commend Ambassador Greenstock for the wonderful and very devoted work he is doing. We believe that intensive international cooperation is a critical weapon in the counter-terrorist arsenal. Israel stands ready and willing to share its knowledge and expertise — and is already doing so with many countries in the world — and to collaborate in joint efforts aimed at coordinating and strengthening our collective response.

At the same time, we would like to see the CTC take a more proactive role beyond the technical work of collecting and analysing country reports. We would like to see the CTC organize discussions on particular issues related to the counter-terrorism effort, including aviation security and the threat of non-conventional weapons. We would further like to see more transparency in the work of the CTC. We believe that more comprehensive information should be made available to the international community to ensure that every Member State has the ability to make a contribution.

We must battle terrorism on all fronts. This means more than using the full range of economic, military, legal and diplomatic tools at our disposal. It also means making no distinctions between so-called bad terrorism and good terrorism. Terror is terror is terror. Despite the seeming universality of this fight, there remain those who persist in drawing distinctions between varieties of violence deliberately targeted against civilians. The international community must stand firmly by the principle that the use of violence against civilians for political means is completely and utterly unacceptable, regardless of cause or motive.

This position was made explicit once again last month when the Security Council, meeting at the level of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, affirmed in resolution 1456 (2003) that

Israel believes that such a declaration and a matching commitment to action are essential to our fight against terrorism. Concessions in the face of terrorism anywhere are an invitation to terror everywhere.

We can never allow the apologists for terrorism to invoke the mantra of root causes to justify murder while laying the moral foundation for future attacks. Terrorism is not the product of poverty or despair, as certain representatives, cynically motivated by their own narrow political interests, would like us to believe. To draw on an example from close to home, Palestinian prosperity and political aspirations have only ever been advanced through negotiations and the rejection of terrorism and violence. The resort to terrorism is what has brought despair. Let me make this very, very clear: It is not poverty that breeds terror; it is terror that breeds poverty.

If the battle against terror is to succeed, groups that use it cannot be allowed to reap political gains and be honoured with central roles on the world stage. Those who kill themselves in order to kill others are murderers, not martyrs, and we cannot permit their crimes to be sanitized with such terms as “martyrdom” and “resistance”. Terrorism should harm the political ambitions of those who engage in it, not invite appeasement and concessions from those too frightened to confront it. Political advances won through terrorism are the surest guarantee of more terrorism.

I therefore call on the Security Council to implement a policy of zero tolerance for terrorism. The time has come to stop talking and to start acting. Terrorism is evil and evil cannot be appeased, it cannot be assuaged; it must be fought and defeated.

The fight against terrorism must begin at home. Our efforts will be successful only if every single State undertakes a sincere and irrevocable commitment to eradicating terrorism from its soil. In the past 18 months, Israel has updated and improved its already expansive body of domestic legislation, counter-terrorist measures and cooperative partnerships.

If the events of 11 September have taught us anything, it is that even one State continuing to support and provide safe harbour to terrorists constitutes a threat of unimaginable proportions. It is therefore essential that all States make ironclad commitments that are manifest in real practical measures, including intense cooperation with the international community and the Counter-Terrorism Committee. The problem in this area may be less with those States that lack the capacity to fight terrorism than with those rogue regimes that lack the will to do so, or worse, actively use and support terrorism to further their subversive agenda. Of highest concern are those rogue regimes with biological, chemical and nuclear weapons that can be transferred to terrorists who have no compunctions regarding their use.

In this connection, we note the irony of the remarks made on Friday in this Council by the Foreign Minister of Syria, the representative of a State that is among the world’s foremost sponsors of terrorism. The Syrian delegation rarely foregoes an opportunity to launch one of its ritual diatribes against Israel, regardless of the issue on the Council’s agenda. I need hardly point out the appalling contradiction between Syria’s membership on this Council and its continued, extensive and unapologetic support for no fewer than 10 separate terrorist organizations. In flagrant violation of resolution 1373 (2001) and basic norms of international law, the Government of Syria continues to provide financial and logistical support and safe harbour to known terrorist groups that operate freely and openly in Syrian-controlled territory.

The international community must not allow Syria to abuse its position on the Council, as it has done repeatedly, to divert attention from its failure to comply with resolution 1373 (2001). Of what use is the campaign against terrorism if others see that States that manifestly fail to live up to their obligations escape condemnation and are even elevated to positions of prominence at the United Nations?

As the body charged with monitoring the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), the CTC can make a vital contribution to our efforts, provided that it is focused and substantive and is prepared, in addition to its other activities, to identify and exert pressure on those States that are failing to fulfil their responsibilities. The CTC must have the courage to name and shame those States that continue to support terrorism even as the world unites to confront it. Yes, the time has come to name them and shame them.

We also must acknowledge the role of incitement in encouraging and legitimizing acts of terrorism. No child, anywhere, is born wanting to be a suicide terrorist, and in our region we are faced with constant reminders of how these children and these suicide bombers are created. The mass media, educational institutions and religious and political figures of the Palestinian Authority inculcate and glorify hatred and offer the moral sanction of both man and God for acts of mass murder. Terrorists must hear not just from this Council, but also from their own people, from their own societies and from their own spiritual and political leaders that the indiscriminate murder of innocents is always wrong and unjustifiable.

We must confront the poisonous well of incitement from which future terrorists are nourished and sustained. Resolutions adopted by the Council in the future should clearly refer to the role of incitement in glorifying and promoting terrorism. We further hope that the CTC will place the fight against incitement at the forefront of its efforts.

Finally, the fight against terrorism is not for the faint of heart. We cannot afford to tire or grow complacent. Those seeking to murder innocent civilians, precisely because they are innocent, and to give up their own lives in the process, are not easily deterred or dissuaded. We are locked in a battle of endurance, one that requires sustained political will to see it through to its conclusion.

The world is now engaged in a harsh battle against the forces of terrorism. We face a difficult road ahead, but great struggles have always yielded great rewards. The defeat of terrorism will be the defeat of those who wish to turn history backwards, to stop the march of human progress. Defeating terrorism will throw open the door to a bold new future and to an era of peace and prosperity, not only in the Middle East but also around the world.

Even in these dark days, the people of Israel have never lost their hope and their desire for peace. Even with the threat of terrorism a constant and pervasive presence, we continue to believe that the day will come when children like my grandchild Ron will no longer need armed guards to protect them at school. It is precisely the belief that a peaceful future must ultimately arrive that gives us the strength to endure.

The day will yet arrive when discussions like these will seem anachronistic, a relic of a past that has been supplanted by a peaceful present and a limitless future. It is my belief that with proper leadership and sufficient resolve that day may not be far off.

The President: The next speaker is the representative of Cuba, to whom I give the floor.

Mr. Rodríguez Parrilla (Cuba) (spoke in Spanish): In order to save time I will read a condensed version, and I wish to place on record the full version of my statement.

The series of terrorist attacks in the most diverse parts of the world that followed the criminal acts of 11 September, the State terrorism against the Palestinian people and the spiral of violence that this generates, and the terrorism against Cuba, inter alia, demonstrate that a comprehensive and collective solution can be found to this ancient and terrible scourge only through harmonious cooperation and consensus, and not by means of war.


The President: Before giving the floor to the next speaker, I again appeal to speakers not to exceed the agreed time of seven minutes for a statement. The matter is one of fairness to the speakers who follow. If we stick to our timetable, everybody will have a chance to make a statement to the Council.

The next speaker is the representative of Bahrain, on whom I now call.

Mr. Almansoor (Bahrain) (spoke in Arabic): ...


The events of 11 September 2001 in the United States of America represented a dramatic turning point that shed light on the phenomenon of terrorism, which directly threatens the stability and security of States and international economic stability. The tragic events in Bali and Moscow, and Israel’s acts of terror in the occupied Palestinian territories, are but links in the continuous chain of the acts of international terror that the international community must step up its efforts to combat.

Bahrain, which is eager to see the international community engaged in combating this dangerous international phenomenon threatening peace and security and the stability of States, has extended its cooperation to the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) since it was established by resolution 1373 (2001). We have provided the Committee with the reports required under paragraph 6 of that resolution. Bahrain submitted its national report on time and was among the first States to do so, because we believe that cooperating with the Committee will enhance international efforts to combat this phenomenon, which threatens the world and kills innocent people worldwide. The Kingdom of Bahrain also recently submitted the supplementary report required by the Committee. My country has taken every measure necessary to combat and stop the phenomenon of international terrorism. It has also ratified most of the international conventions pertaining to the fight against international terrorism.

The most important component of international terrorism is State terrorism, which we have witnessed in the Balkans, in particular in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. State terrorism continues in the occupied Arab territories. Such terrorism includes the Israeli Government’s deliberate demolition of Palestinian homes, its displacement of Palestinians, its usurpation of their lands and the looting of their property. In that regard, my country calls on the international community to firmly and resolutely address this dangerous phenomenon, put an end to those inhumane practices and bring the perpetrators to international justice so that they may be duly punished.

Israel continues to defy United Nations resolutions and to reject every peace initiative that would bring an end to its occupation of territory, which is, after all, a form of international terrorism. Israel has also rejected the peace initiative that was recently put forth by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and adopted at the Arab Summit held in Beirut last March. Israel has also continued its policy of settler colonialism and population transfer, its terrorism against defenceless Palestinians, who are armed only with the determination to defy and resist Israeli terror. My country is gravely concerned about the policies being pursued by the Government of Israel against the Palestinian people in defiance of international humanitarian law, human rights law and international law and norms.


The President : I now give the floor to the representative of Egypt.

Mr. Aboul Gheit (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic ): ...


Egypt also proposed that an international conference be convened to declare the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction. Egypt deems this extremely important and believes that it must be achieved as soon as possible, as a key element of international peace and security and a factor in promoting the stability of the region.


The President: The next speaker is the representative of Yemen, on whom I now call.

Mr. Alsaidi (Yemen) (spoke in Arabic ): ...


Many of us have warned of the danger of selectivity and double standards in the implementation of international resolutions, in particular those pertaining to the Middle East. We do not believe that Palestinians can be deprived of their legitimate right to resist occupation and settler colonialism. There are those who in effect endorse the crimes of the Israeli settlers and Israel’s colonization policies.


The President: The next speaker is the representative of South Africa, to whom I give the floor.

Ms. Ndhlovu (South Africa): ...


...Terrorists take advantage of the sense of despair and frustration that breeds wherever people are forced to live without hope and without freedom. No legislative measures and no amount of police action, intelligence-gathering or military force can ever guarantee our safety as long as the basic needs of millions of disaffected and marginalized people across the world continue to be overlooked.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Middle East, where the Palestinian people have been subjected to the devastating impact of more than 30 years of illegal occupation and the daily humiliations and sufferings associated with Israel’s violent policy of settlement expansionism. The success or failure of the Security Council’s counter-terrorism efforts largely depends on how it addresses crises such as those in Palestine and other occupied territories.


Mr. Mekdad (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic): ...


The countries of the world elected Syria almost unanimously to membership of the Security Council, in appreciation of Syria’ s role in international political life and in the Middle East. For some 14 months, Syria has done everything possible to enhance the work of the Council, especially in combating terrorism. States members of the Security Council are well aware of Syria’s effective and rich contribution in fighting terrorism. Council members and other States Members of the United Nations, contrary to allegations by the representative of Israel, know full well the effective role that Syria plays in that regard.

Let me caution that the greatest danger to the international campaign against terrorism is the Israeli terrorist approach to combating terrorism. It appears that the representative of Israel’s ignorance of the principles and methods of international action, of Security Council debate, of how the Council discusses the items before it and of the work of its subsidiary bodies has blinded him to the truth. He thus resorted to cheap tricks when we were discussing such a serious issue in the work of the Council. Does the representative of Israel seriously believe that he can mislead Council members and the international community? I do not believe so.

Palestinians in Syria, about whom the representative of Israel spoke, estimated to number more than 400,000, are the victims of Israeli terrorism. The entire world sees and hears about Israeli terrorist practices. In 1948, Israel was founded on terrorist organizations. The records of the United Kingdom Foreign Office are replete with evidence of that. The killing of Count Bernadotte, the United Nations peace mediator, at the hands of Israeli terrorist gangs is well known. Recently, United Nations officials have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza.

It appears that Israel cannot understand that occupation is terrorism. It has killed more than 2,180 Palestinians during the past two years alone. Thirty Palestinians have been killed in the past day and a half — that is one Palestinian killed every hour. An entire army is practising terrorism. What does it mean consistently to demolish the houses of Palestinians, throwing thousands of innocent children into the rain, snow and cold of the winter? What does it mean to demolish a house yesterday while four people were still living in it — killing all of them? Is not that terrorism?

The problem is that Israel thinks only about its own children, its settlements and its occupation and about the need to maintain that occupation. The representative of Israel referred to the Israeli occupation soldiers who escort the poor Israeli children to their schools. But Palestinian children are being killed in cold blood every single day, with Israeli tanks at their doors to stop them from going to school. But killing them is not enough. According to Israeli logic, they are not human beings.

A four-month-old child, Iman Hajjo, was killed when four bullets penetrated her little head, shattering it completely. We all watched as the child Mohamed al-Durra was killed by the Israeli occupation forces. Is that life or death? Is not that terrorism?

Everybody has the right to talk about terrorism except Israel; Israel is the symbol and embodiment of terrorism. Israel must stop its occupation of our territory; it must stop its settlers; it must stop violating our rights. We have said before and will say again that occupation is terrorism — it is the apex of terrorism. Occupation is occupation, and occupation is terrorism.

We support the fight of all people against occupation, even though some have claimed that such fights constitute terrorism. Let me reaffirm that Syria will continue its close cooperation with all countries to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and it will make every effort to support the Counter-Terrorism Committee with a view to fully implementing resolution 1373 (2001) in all its aspects.


The meeting rose at 1.50 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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