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Israeli Ambassador Gillerman's Statement at the UNSC

As promised, here's a link to Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman's statement at the UNSC on Oct. 5th.

You should Read The Whole Thing™ — or if you're one of my co-workers, I invite you to watch the recording I have. If you thought diplomacy made for boring television, you're right most of the time, but this is the exception!

Here are the most salient bits, all emphasis mine:

Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization that operates freely from Palestinian Authority territory and has headquarters in Damascus, Syria proudly claimed responsibility for this massacre. Islamic Jihad is an organizations committed to the destruction of Israel through holy war and engages in the deliberate and widespread murder of innocents to that end. It opposes moderate Arab governments and actively supports terrorist attacks against Western targets. There could not be a more obvious example of a terrorist organization.

The encouragement, safe harbor, training facilities, funding and logistical support offered by Syria to a variety of notorious terrorist organizations is a matter of public knowledge. Among the many terrorists group that operate and benefit from the auspices of the Syrian dictatorship are Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hizbollah, and The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It is well known that the Secretary General of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Abdallah Shallah is one of several terrorist leaders that operates freely in Damascus and receives immunity and support from the Assad regime.

Among the evidence he provides:

4) Syria uses its state run media and official institutions to glorify and encourage suicide bombings against civilians in restaurants, schools, commuter buses and shopping malls. To mention but a few examples, Radio Damascus, in a broadcast of 9 May 2002, lauded "The wonderful and special suicide attacks which were executed by some of the sons of the Palestinian nation." In another State-run announcement of 1 January 2002, Damascus radio declared that "The entire world knows that Syria, its political leadership, and its Arab people … have turned Syrian Arab soil into a training camp, a safe haven, and an arms depot for the Palestinian revolutionaries." And on 13 May 2002, President Bashar Assad himself announced in reference to so-called acts of resistance "If I had not been President of Syria I wouldn't hesitate to participate in them." This was not said by Osama Bin Laden or even Saddam Hussein, these words were uttered by a President of a member of this council! Syria has also played host to a number of conferences in which senior terrorist operatives from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other organizations meet.

After the evidence, he continues:

These are just a few examples of the extent and nature of the involvement of the Syrian regime in the deliberate murder of innocent civilians. Each and every one of these acts constitutes a grave violation of international law and Security Council resolutions, as well as a threat to international peace and security. There are few better exhibits of State-sponsorship for terrorism than the one provided by the Syrian regime.

Members of the Council and the United Nations can hardly be surprised at this shameless act of hypocrisy by the Syrian regime. This is the same regime that speaks so often of "occupation" while it brutally occupies the neighboring territory of Lebanon. It is the same regime that speaks of international law and human rights while it subjugates its people under a repressive and primitive dictatorship, violating countless international obligations. It is the same regime that supported the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq in violation of Security Council resolutions, and to this day facilitates the infiltration of terrorists to attack civilian and military targets in Iraqi territory. And it is this same despotic regime that speaks so freely of double standards at the United Nations. Syria would do well to take a hard look at the mirror, and count itself fortunate that it has not yet, for unfortunate reasons, been the subject of concerted international action as part of the global campaign against terrorism. Not yet!

He's certainly got chutzpah, which seems appropriate. This sort of directness is usually carefully avoided by diplomats — for him to speak so clearly and forcefully is significant in its own right.

Syria is, of course, on the United States' list of state sponsors of terrorism. (The section on Syria is at the bottom of that web page.)

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