There is a specific kind of ecosystem that creates terrorism. Terrorism is
rooted in hate, watered with instability and state support, and then planted in
the next generation.
Every roadside bombing, every suicide attack, and
every act of terrorism begins with words and thoughts of hate. It begins with
al-Qaida websites that turn suicide bombers into jihadi celebrities. It begins
with Hezbollah summer camps that use arts and crafts to glorify martyrdom and
teach bombmaking skills to children.
It begins with statements by Hamas
leaders like Atallah Abu al-Subh, who recently said on public Palestinian
television (and I quote) “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible
nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth.” This is the poison that is being
fed to people across the Middle East, day after day.
So I want to take
the opportunity of this debate to ask the simple question: how do we truly
counterterrorism? Yes, we must combat terrorists wherever they seek to strike.
Yes, we must attack terrorist infrastructure, and go after those who support and
However, true counterterrorism must also begin by
disrupting the ecosystem of extremism in which terror thrives. It means
advancing education that teaches peace, not hate, and mutual understanding, not
martyrdom. It means speaking out against incitement and all forms of terrorism,
even when it is politically inconvenient.
We are far from that reality.
In too many corners of the planet, extremists have the tools to grow the next
generation of terrorists. In this very council, some states offer justification
for certain terrorists, while condemning others.
Committee, the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, and the 1540 Committee all remain
essential parts of the global effort to isolate terrorists and deny them the
means to inflict harm.
Israel appreciates the work of the UN’s
counterterrorism agencies. The UN has expanded its counterterrorism efforts over
the past decade – in particular by coordinating and facilitating technical
assistance to member states.
Israel is proud to be an active partner and
donor in these efforts. We continue to share the knowledge and experience that
comes through years of combating terrorism. We remain committed to implementing
the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to that end, we recently
submitted our periodic report, in accordance with Resolution 1540. We also
support the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. All four pillars of this
strategy must be treated as a whole.
Israel is working closely with many
states and regional organizations to advance counterterrorism cooperation in
areas from aviation security to border protection to terrorist financing. These
activities reflect our fundamental belief that terrorism can only effectively be
confronted through international cooperation.
No state should stand
It takes a network to beat a network.
The challenge we face
is growing as a result of an increasingly linked network of smuggling rings,
transnational criminals, and terrorists. Ayman Juma was recently indicted in a
US court for smuggling 85 tons of cocaine into the US and for laundering $850
million for a Mexican drug cartel. He took a 14 percent commission for these
efforts on behalf of his bosses, the Hezbollah terrorist
Juma is one of many thousands of Hezbollah operatives in a
network that spans from West Africa to the Middle East to Latin America to
Europe. This global criminal network funds Hezbollah’s terrorist activities, and
provides the logistical support to carry them out.
Make no mistake. There
is a direct connection between powder cocaine smuggled from Latin America and
the gunpowder of Hezbollah weaponry in Lebanon.
CRIMINALS ARE not the
only supporters of terrorists. Many states – including some in this hall – work
hand-in-hand with them as well. Iran stands chief among these
Across the African continent, Iranian weaponry has become the
tool of choice for some of the region’s bloodiest insurgencies and
In Gaza, Iran is funding, training and arming Hamas, Islamic
Jihad and other terrorists, giving them the capabilities to strike Israel’s
largest cities. Iran’s politicians and military commanders boast about providing
terrorists with this assistance. The head of Islamic Jihad in Gaza said last
November (and I quote) “The entire world knows that Iran is the main source of
Iran has also helped Hezbollah to build its arsenal to
unprecedented levels in Lebanon, amassing 50,000 deadly missiles – in flagrant
breach of resolution 1701. These weapons can reach all of Israel and well
beyond. Hezbollah intentionally stores its weapons in civilian areas. Just last
month, a large Hezbollah weapons storage facility exploded in the Lebanese
village of Tair Harfa, just 300 meters from a school.
The people of
Lebanon are more valuable to Hezbollah and Iran as human shields than as human
We face the frightening possibility that Hezbollah could soon get
its hands on Assad’s vast stockpiles of chemical weapons. This council must act
today, not tomorrow. We have a responsibility to prevent the world’s most
dangerous weapons from falling into the hands of the world’s most dangerous
This council cannot turn a blind eye to those states that
sponsor, support and arm terrorists. The international community must hold them
accountable for the violence that they spread – and the lives that they have
We have passed many resolutions in these halls in the global fight
against terror. Our collective efforts cannot end there. The voices of the
victims of terrorism call to us. They demand our united action.
take the words from the printed page and breathe life into them every day. We
must be steadfast.
We must be strong. We must, as Churchill said, “seek
victory however long and hard the road may be.” We cannot rest until the evil
ideologies that fuel terror become nothing more than relics of the
past.The writer serves as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.
This oped is adapted from his recent address to the UN Security Council on