UNSC: Gillerman on the Assassination of Yassin
I continue to be awed by the frankness and the moral clarity coming from
Israel's ambassadors. At the UNSC
on March 23rd, Ambassador Gillerman made an impactful statement about the
assassination of Hamas founder Sheikh Amhed Yassin. I'll quote a few
short pieces; you should read the whole thing.
Although the Security Council has never met to discuss the attacks for which Sheikh Yassin is responsible, the list is gruesome and shocking. To characterize him as a "spiritual leader" is to attempt to characterize Osama bin Laden as a Mother Therese. Underneath his supposed clerical garb, Sheikh Yassin is a true pioneer in the ruthless murder of innocents. Under his direct leadership, inspiration, and instruction, Hamas — an organization recognized around the world for its brutal terrorism — has perpetrated over 425 attacks that have killed 377 Israelis and wounded 2076 in less than three and a half years of violence. He has stood at the head of a command and control structure dedicated to the destruction of Israel. If Sheikh Yassin was not an arch-terrorist, there is no such thing.
By any reasonable standard of international law, Israel has a legitimate right, in fact a duty, to defend itself against those illegal combatants and their commanders who are committed to murder as many of its civilians as possible. The Palestinian leadership has proved beyond any doubt that it has no intention of taking a single measure to fight terrorism, as it is legally and morally obliged to do. This mass murderer, Sheikh Yassin, lived and operated for years not just in freedom, but under the protective authority and safe haven of the Palestinian Authority in violation of the most basic international norms. What would you have us do? Stand idly by as Yassin and the Palestinian leadership co-sign the death warrants of more innocent civilians?
It is the basic obligation of the Government of Israel — like any other government — to protect the lives of its citizens from the threat of terrorism. Unlike the terrorists we confront, we make every effort under excruciatingly difficult conditions to minimize harm to civilians. We recognize that we have responsibilities. But we will not negotiate by day and bury our dead by night. By removing Sheikh Yassin from the international stage, we send a very strong message to the terrorists: when you kill our civilians, you are not immune.