UNITED NATIONS – Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said Wednesday that Israel
believes Syrian President Bashar Assad has tested the red line set out by US
President Barack Obama and Western allies on the use of chemical weapons against
his own people.
“I think he has tested it, but I think he’s got the
message,” Prosor told The Jerusalem Post.
Prosor was reacting to a
Foreign Policy report citing an internal US State Department cable that seemed
to confirm the testing of chemical weapons in the field on December 23 of last
The State Department doused the report shortly after its
“The world’s most dangerous weapons are moving within reach of
our region’s most dangerous actors,” Prosor said in his prepared remarks. “We
face the frightening possibility that Assad’s vast stockpiles of chemical
weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah or al- Qaida.”
“If Mali is
on France’s doorstep, Gaza is in Israel’s living room,” Prosor added,
highlighting the threat of terrorism to Israel on multiple borders.
the UN Security Council, Prosor asked why the quarterly debate on the Middle
East was dominated by the Palestinian question, and not any of the many other
fires that make the Middle East “the world’s greatest hotbed of tyranny,” such
as Iran’s nuclear program, Hezbollah’s activity in Lebanon and the rising death
toll in Syria, which has now topped 60,000.
Palestinian Authority Foreign
Minister Riyad al-Maliki said that while 800 to 1,000 Palestinians are among the
dead in the Syrian conflict, the struggle is “internal to Syria” and therefore
PA would not comment.
In his first presentation to the Security Council
since Palestine was granted non-member observer status, Maliki said that
settlement construction in the E1 corridor near Jerusalem represented a
crossroads “challenging the viability of a two-state
“Regardless if it’s one settlement unit or thousands,” Maliki
stated, “these are all illegal.” But while he called the upgrade of the
Palestinian classification at the UN historic, US Ambassador Susan Rice said the
extent of progress made for their cause was the printing of a new placard and
new consulate stationary, both of which she called invalid.
She said the
term “State of Palestine” would not be uttered by the US and called its use at
the UN by other nations disingenuous. Prosor, for his part, called it a “state
“As we all know, the November 29, 2012 vote in the General
Assembly has not brought the Palestinians any closer to our common goal of
achieving a state,” said Rice. “As we have said repeatedly, the only way to
establish a real Palestinian state is through the painstaking work of direct
negotiations on final status issues, without preconditions.”
reaffirmed the US’s “longstanding opposition” to settlement construction in the
West Bank, and called the E1 construction “especially damaging.”
meanwhile, highlighted Israel’s elections this week as an example of why Israel
is not what is wrong with the Middle East, but what is right.
are just one component of Israel’s vibrant democracy. Our government guarantees
the protection of minorities, women and gays. Our courts ensure that everyone is
accountable under the law. Our educational system teaches tolerance and peace,
not violence and hate,” he said.
“Cynical politics do no favors for the
Arab world,” he continued. “This council needs a GPS system to find its moral
center in this debate on the Middle East.