Israel to UN: Stop Syrian WMD transfer to Hezbollah

UN Ambassador Prosor calls on UNSC to act immediately to prevent Assad's chemical weapons falling into Hezbollah's hands.

January 16, 2013 15:45
2 minute read.
Chemical weapons drill [file]

Chemical weapons drill 390. (photo credit: Reuters)


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NEW YORK – Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said Tuesday that the prospect of Hezbollah acquiring chemical weapons – through mishandling or via Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government — is “frightening,” and called on the Security Council to act immediately to prevent their proliferation.

Prosor’s comments came during a daylong debate at the UN on counterterrorism efforts. The Israeli envoy contended that an end to terrorism required addressing the fundamental teachings of prejudice and hate.

“I want to take the opportunity of this debate to ask the simple question: How do we truly counter terrorism?” he asked in the hall of the Security Council.

“Yes, we must combat terrorists wherever they seek to strike. Yes, we must attack terrorist infrastructure, and go after those who support and finance terrorism,” he said.

“However, true counterterrorism must also begin by disrupting the ecosystem of extremism in which terror thrives,” Prosor continued.

“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.”

The international community is far from that goal of disrupting the “ecosystem” of terrorism, Prosor said, citing the celebration of suicide bombers after successful strikes, Hezbollah’s collection of over 50,000 missiles in violation of Resolution 1701 and the teaching of bomb-making to young children in societies hostile to Israel and its Western allies.

Prosor added that no country can act alone in thwarting terrorist efforts, crediting the UN for fostering a significant global counter-effort.

But the debate on terrorism reflected the global reach of the phenomenon, and attracted countries from every hemisphere to speak out.

African nations struggled to distinguish between terrorist actions and corrupted resistance efforts. Syria’s Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari ambassador called the international community hypocritical.

“The terrorist armed groups in my country always take advantage of a Security Council meeting to perpetrate a terrorist attack inside Syria and this is indeed what happened today perhaps for the 10th or 20th time since the crisis in my country began,” Ja’afari told the 15- nation council, charging a moral and logical disconnect between actions taken against terrorists in Mali and an “alliance” cast between Syrian rebels and Western powers.

United States Ambassador Susan Rice called for a holistic approach to counterterrorism around the world, warning against “complacency” as terrorist cells continue to adapt to international efforts.

“Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a significant international threat. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Al-Shabaab continue to sow instability and exploit safe havens in Mali, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, destabilizing societies and obstructing the delivery of vital humanitarian relief to millions in need,” Rice said. “And transnational terrorist groups remain active in North Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere.”

The US recognizes that force alone is insufficient to counter an evermore diffuse terrorist community, Rice said, adding that their “capacity-building assistance” efforts to reinforce the security of its allies, and the homeland, have intensified.

“No single country, no one organization, nor any particular tactic or tool alone can neutralize the threat of terrorism,” Rice said.

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