Buenos Aires memorial 311.
(photo credit: Gil Shefler)
On Friday we commemorated 20 years since the vile and murderous attack against
the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. As has become customary, every year we
conduct a memorial service to remember and honor the 29 victims who lost their
lives in this terrorist attack.
Among the victims were Israeli diplomats
and their spouses, dedicated Argentinean embassy workers, and unconnected
bystanders. The lives of the victims may have been cut short, but their mission
As a former ambassador and as deputy foreign minister I can
say firmly that this and other more recent attacks on embassies and diplomats
will not deter us from continuing to represent the State of Israel in all
locations and arenas.
Two years later, Buenos Aires suffered another
fatal attack, when the Jewish community center, AMIA, was targeted, killing 85
people and wounding hundreds more. These attacks added a new element to
relations between Israel and Argentina – the struggle against the scourge of
Many of those who planned and carried out these
terrible crimes continue to walk freely and plan new attacks around the world.
One is the current Iranian minister of defense, Ahmad Vahidi, who is wanted by
Interpol for his role in these mass murders.
While many in my country are
rightly worried about the potential threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon, the
attacks which took place here clearly demonstrate that Iran has tentacles which
spread across the globe, each of which will maintain the ability to murder
whenever and wherever it chooses under an umbrella of nuclear immunity and
We know that acquiring nuclear weapons capability is only a
means to an end for Iran, not the end itself.
Iran seeks first regional
hegemony in the Middle East and then to confront the international community as
a global hegemony.
In recent months we have witnessed many attempts to
attack Israeli citizens and Jews in several countries, including India,
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Thailand. Many of these attacks were specifically aimed
at Israeli diplomats, whose profession was originally created to avoid war and
bloodshed. By targeting the very symbols of peaceful relations between nations,
the Iranians are deliberately sowing conflict, proving that the Iranian regime’s
rationale is against peace, stability and security.
Today, the Iranian
government’s greatest export is terror, its foremost trade is murder and its
ambition is chaos and bloodshed. A nuclear weapon will merely increase the scope
of its ambitions and make its goals more attainable.
We know the recent
attack on southern Israel by terrorist organizations in Gaza were also at the
behest and with the full backing of the Iranian regime. The government of Israel
will take all necessary action to protect its citizens and interests at home and
around the world. We will do whatever is required to prevent further death and
destruction and to deprive the Iranian government of the ability to achieve its
We will do this hand in hand with the international
community, which shares our deep concern over Iran’s activities.
manifestation of solidarity with the victims of the attack at the Israeli
Embassy by distinguished Argentinean officials is evidence of our shared values.
If we unite and join forces, we will overcome evil and build a better world for
ourselves and our children.
Preservation of historical memory is an
essential element in building such a world. The struggle against terrorism is
not the responsibility of any one country. This is a global battle, fought
across continents, cultures and borders.
Only an all-out war on murderers
who do not hesitate to intentionally harm helpless civilians can ensure the
existence of freedom and peace in our world. To the bereaved families in Israel
and Argentina, we send a clear message that the Israeli government and people
will never forget this horrible crime.
The memory of your loved ones is
engraved on our hearts forever. The State of Israel will not rest until those
who committed this atrocious crime receive justice.The writer is deputy
foreign minister and this op-ed is based on a speech he delivered at the
official state ceremony in Buenos Aires to mark the 20th anniversary of the
terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy there.