Following is an edited version of the first address made by Ambassador Danny Danon to the UN Security Council on Thursday. The people of Israel seek to live in peace and to see their children prosper. For the Jewish People, who have suffered centuries of exile and persecution, our dream can be summed up in the words of our national anthem, “to live as a free people in our land.”
Tragically, since the establishment of the State of Israel, every Israeli in every generation has been touched by war and by terror.
My own father, Joseph Danon, was severely injured by terrorists during his reserve duty. After sustaining critical injuries, he eventually passed away after a long and painful struggle.
We all hope and pray for peace with our neighbors, and we will do all that we can to achieve this noble goal, but we will never compromise the security of the Jewish state.
Today, I address this chamber at a time of great difficulty and pain in my country and for my people.
This is not how I envisioned my first address.
Over the past six weeks, the streets of Israel have been swept by a savage tide of terror, and I am disappointed that all I hear are calls to end the “cycle of violence.”
Let me make one thing clear – this is not a cycle of violence. These are simply unprovoked attacks against Israelis for no reason other than the fact that they are Jews living in their historic homeland.
Like any country, Israel has the right and obligation to defend its citizens, and this is exactly what we are doing. Any country whose people were being attacked in the streets on a daily basis would act in the exact same way.
Palestinian terrorists have chosen Israeli victims at random, using rifles and rocks, knives, screwdrivers and even vehicles to shed the blood of innocents. Israelis know that an attack can come at any time, in any place, without warning, and without mercy.
Parents worry that their children could be attacked when they leave in the morning, and children are in fear that their parents won’t make it home.
This is the true meaning of terror.
When someone brandishes a knife with the intention of killing another person, this stems from a deep hatred. When that someone is a thirteen-year-old boy who stabs an Israeli boy riding a bicycle 15 times, this stems from a culture of hate.
Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person...
People must learn to hate.”
Tragically, Palestinian children have been receiving lessons in hatred on a daily basis.
A children’s program aired on the Palestine Public Broadcast Corporation station recently featured a young girl reciting a poem, calling Jews “barbaric monkeys,” and those “who murdered Allah’s pious prophets.” She concluded, “I do not fear barbarity... as long as I have my arm and my stones.”
Here, in the words of this young girl, you have the answer to the cause of this current escalation.
An entire generation of Palestinian youth is being brainwashed with bigotry, brought up to glorify violence, and raised to dehumanize Jews. This indoctrination poisons the minds of the youth, and the results soon follow.
Just take a look at Palestinian social media. There are vicious cartoons showing brutal killings of Israelis. There are instructional videos for how to commit an attack in the most efficient way.
There is even an animated clip of the murder of Eitam and Naama Henkin – who were killed in front of their children. A special effort was made to show the fear and terror in the eyes of the Henkin children who were sitting in the back seat of their car as they watched their parents’ murder.
When children are taught hostility and hatred instead of math and science, when teenagers are encouraged to grab a knife instead of a book, when youth are shown images of violence instead of a vision for peace – then they too are victims.
When you ignore this deliberate corruption of the minds of children, you are not a part of the solution – you are a part of the problem.
The history of my region demonstrates that hatred starts with falsehood and incitement and ends with violence. The spree of stabbings, shootings and stonings we now face began with lies about the Temple Mount.
President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have repeatedly and systematically accused Israel of trying to change the status quo.
This inflammatory allegation is false, and President Abbas knows it is false. Yet, this malicious lie is told over and over again.
Israel is fully committed to the status quo. We not only accepted this arrangement, but we are responsible for enforcing it. Israel is the only one who protects the rights of other faiths to worship in Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Not only are the conspiracy theories spread by President Abbas not true, but they are also not new. Twenty years before the establishment of the State of Israel, lies were spread about the Temple Mount in order to incite violence against Jews. In the violence which followed, 133 Jews were massacred and hundreds more were injured.
When Abbas declares, that “Israel intends to make al-Aksa Jewish” and says, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem,” he understands the consequences of his words. He knows full well that it leads to new waves of violence and terror, and that lives will be lost.
The only difference between today and the 1920s, is that the “explanations” we so often hear in the UN Security Council chamber didn’t apply then. There was no Israeli presence on the Temple Mount, no settlements, no State of Israel, and no excuses to sell to the international community.
The Palestinians are employing old tactics and are trying to score easy victories without having to negotiate, or to recognize the Jewish state. They are using violence to manipulate the international community. Instead of penalizing the Palestinians, the international community is rewarding them.
Israel will not agree to an international presence on the Temple Mount. If the international community wishes to be constructive, it should focus on ending the incitement. No nation represented in this chamber would accept the presence of international forces on their sovereign territory.
To our friends in France we say that the only way to peace is through direct talks between the parties. The best way to reduce tensions in the region is to urge President Abbas to accept Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to meet with him.
The only place where the status quo needs to change is at the UN.
If you are truly interested in calming tensions and bringing peace to the region, you must change. The UN must end its practice of calling on both sides to “show restraint,” and clearly state that there is one side that is instigating terror.
Stop making excuses for the Palestinians, and start holding them accountable. Demand that Abbas cease his incitement. Insist that he return to the negotiating table.
Only then, once the Palestinians see that distorting the truth and promoting violence will get them nowhere, will the reality on the ground change and the prospects for peace return.