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THIS IS A JERUSALEM JOURNAL TRANSCRIPT OF
REMARKS BY ISRAELI AMBASSADOR DANNY DANON TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL ON 17 JANUARY 2017
On Part 1 of the UN video recording of the event, Danon's remarks begin at 31:39
Mr. President, I would like welcome the new members who joined the Security Council this month: Ethiopia, Italy, Kazakstan, Sweden and Bolivia. I would also like to recognize Sweden on assuming the presidency of the Council this month. Israel looks forward to working with all of you during your time on the Security Council.
Mr. President, last month this Council voted to adopt Resolution 2334. Immediately following the vote, this chamber erupted into applause with almost every nation represented voicing its approval of a resolution condemning Israel.
The vote was also welcomed by some around the world. Here are two examples.
First, and I quote, "We welcome this important transformation and development in international positions supporting Palestinian rights in an international forum."
And second, "There is an international public opinion against Israel and its policies which has [made it] possible to isolate, boycott and to sue Israel in international forums for the crimes and aggressions it commits."
The first quote was by a spokesperson for Hamas. The second one was from the Islamic Jihad.
Both of these organizations have killed and injured countless innocent Israelis. Both are recognized as murderous terrorist organizations - by the US, by the EU, and many other countries. And both are openly committed to the destruction of the State of Israel.
Last week a Palestinian terrorist used his truck to drive into a group of soldiers who were visiting Jerusalem as part of an educational seminar. They had gathered at the site where Jews, Christians and Muslims come to take in the beautiful vistas of Jerusalem. The terrorist drove his truck back and forth, killing four Israelis and injuring dozens of others.
We appreciate the strong word by this Council, the Secretary General and others in condemning this act of Palestinian terror.
Palestinian President Abbas, on the other hand, has once again remained silent. Nothing.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad celebrated this despicable act. They gave out candy in Gaza in honor of the murder of innocent Israelis.
These are the entities that joined this Council in welcoming Resolution 2334.
This resolution declared that our presence in Jerusalem is illegal. It encouraged the Palestinians to continue to avoid negotiations - and inspired the terrorist in Jerusalem.
And this was a result: [holds up a composite photo of four murdered Israelis] Shir Hajaj, Yael Yekutiel, Erez Orbach, and Shira Thur.
They were murdered by a Palestinian who was led to believe that he could use terror and violence to remove the Jewish people from Jerusalem.
He will not succeed.
[Pauses, slowly puts down composite photo of the Israeli murder victims]
Let's take a few minutes to better understand this resolution which was supported by Hamas.
Amongst its many biased and false clauses, it is particularly appalling that the resolution designates Israel's presence in the part of Jerusalem which was liberated in 1967 as, quote, "a flagrant violation under international law."
Let me remind you that this includes Jerusalem's Old City and [its] Jewish Quarter, and it includes the holy Western Wall that sits at the heart of Jerusalem. This wall is a remnant of our Temple which was first built on the Mount above by King Solomon almost 3,000 years ago. Yes, the same Temple Mount which this Council refuses to call by its historic name.
King Solomon famously noted that there is nothing new under the sun. His words of wisdom still ring true today.
In the year 587 BCE, the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple, and exiled my people from Jerusalem.
But the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple. In the year 70, the ancient Roman Empire succeeded in destroying the Second Temple and sent us into our long exile.
The physical destruction of Jerusalem was not enough for the Romans. They even renamed the land of Israel, Palestine, in an attempt to erase any trace of our connection to our birthright.
All of these attempts, and many more, failed to break the bond between the people of Israel and Jerusalem.
Today I represent not only the State of Israel, but [also] the 16 million Jews worldwide who pray and yearn for Jerusalem.
Mr. President, for Israel, peace is not a convenient ploy that we raise in international forums; it is an essential part of all of our prayers.
This is why Prime Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called, time and again, for President Abbas to meet with him, directly, for genuine negotiations. Prime Minister Netanyahu's offer still stands today, and he is willing to meet in Jerusalem, in Ramallah, or even here in New York to enter into a real dialogue.
We know that neither speeches nor statements will bring peace to our region. The only way forward is for the Palestinians to understand that they must condemn terror; yes, condemn terror - and incitement - and return to the negotiating table.
It saddens me, however, to report that last month's resolution has set us back in the pursuit of peace. The message emanating from the current administration in Washington, and now from Paris, is exactly the opposite. It has encouraged the Palestinians to continue down the dangerous path that they have chosen.
The day after the Security Council vote, Fatah, the movement of Mahmoud Abbas, posted a cartoon on their official Facebook Page. It showed a dagger in the shape of a map of Israel colored with the Palestinian flag - not [just] Judea and Samaria, what some call the West Bank, all of Israel.
Underneath the dagger was a pool of blood. And next to it said, thank you, and listed each Council member who voted for the shameful resolution.
Mr. President, this Council may have thought that the resolution would send a message to Israel. But you instead sent a message to the Palestinians.
They now understand that should continue to spread the lies that the Western Wall in Israel is not sacred to the Jewish people but to other occupied territory.
They now understand that they should continue to teach their children that Tel Aviv is really Tal al-Rabia.
And they now understand that should continue to raise the next generation of Palestinians to believe that, instead of a people who have returned to their homeland, that Zionism is a foreign occupying power that must be overthrown.
In this rare moment of honesty, the Palestinian leader admitted that this conflict is not about so-called settlements; but about the refusal to accept the Jewish State of Israel in any borders.
By saying no to Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, the Palestinians are saying that their endgame is not to create a state alongside Israel, but rather to replace it completely.
That is why they continue to turn to international bodies instead of negotiating directly with Israel. They believe they can accomplish all they seek without making the concessions needed to really put an end to this conflict.
Just two days ago [15 January 2017] a conference was convened in Paris to, supposedly, further the cause of peace. This gathering took place despite Prime Minister Netanyahu's call to hold a meeting - to meet - with President Abbas instead of a useless conference.
Over 70 nations met in the City of Light - without our presence - to discuss how we should make peace.
Mr. President, it is because Israel wants to see real diplomatic progress that the actions of the UN are so dangerous.
For years, we have sounded the alarm, alerting you of the various bodies and agencies which, under the pretense of assisting the Palestinian people, really serve as mechanisms to delegitimize Israel. They present a biased, one-sided narrative of the conflict, and encourage the Palestinians to continue to hold their people hostage and avoid the steps need to promote real peace.
In the wake of last month's resolution, we have decided that enough is enough.
Israel has initiated a reassessment of our relationship with a number of UN organizations. Our first step is to suspend more than 6 million dollars from our annual contribution to the UN for 2017. This amount represents the portion of the UN budget allocated to anti-Israel bodies which represent the UN's double standards when it comes to Israel.
These organizations inject anti-Israel sentiment and prejudice into the UN system, harm its credibility, and violate the principles on the which the UN itself was founded.
Just look at one example: the Division for Palestinian Rights, a prime example of a UN body focused solely on promoting the Palestinian narrative while delegitimizing Israel. This division spends over 1.3 million dollars on travel alone; 1.3 million dollars that could have been used to promote dialogue and understanding was instead spent on touring the world in an organization that has 16 employees.
These are millions of dollars that should be going to make the world a safer and more secure place for our children, are instead being spent to spread hatred and even blatant antisemitism.
These steps we are taking should be seen as an act of protest. It is our sincere hope that the message we are sending will be heard, and this body will take the necessary steps to fundamentally change the way it operates.
Mr. President, despite the events of the past few weeks, we remain hopeful. We are hopeful because, with every new composition of the Security Council, there is a chance: a chance that the members will stake a new and honest course that actually encourages peace in our region, [instead of] continuing down the path of assigning one-sided blame only on Israel.
We are hopeful because a new Secretary General has taken office, and with him comes the possibility of a wind of change. This could be an opportunity for the UN to institute real reforms, to return to its founding principles, and to quote the founding charter, to "unite our strength to maintain international peace and security."
We are also hopeful because a new American president will take office in three days. With this new administration, comes the hope that the US will return to its policy of rejecting unfair and biased Security Council resolutions, and promoting direct and genuine dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.
Finally, we are hopeful because we are armed with thousands of years of history behind us, and innovative, vibrant and a more-and-more stable Israel before us. And because, as Rabbi Yehoshua Weitzman so poetically described the strength of the Jewish people, "The eternal people does not fear a long journey." [Danon repeats the quote in Hebrew]
Thank you, Mr. President.
THE LAST WORD: ISRAEL'S UNSCHEDULED FINAL STATEMENT AFTER WHICH THE 4.5 HOUR MEETING WAS ADJOURNED
The speaker delivering this statement is an unidentified woman, presumably a member of Israel's UN ambassadorial team. On Part 2 of the UN video recording of the event, her remarks begin at 2:13:42
Thank you, Mr. President.
The Islamic State of Iran, a state that openly supports and sponsors terrorism throughout the region, had the audacity to sit here in this chamber and spread lies. Aside from a long list of criminal and terrorist acts attributed to this regime, Iran doesn't even spare the lives of its own youth, and it remains one of the few states in the world which executes juvenile offenders. Considering Iran's utter disregard for human life, it comes as no surprise [that] it continues committing unspeakable acts such as assisting the Assad regime in the wanton slaughter of the Syrian people, directly and, by its proxy, Hezbollah.
Mr. President, I could not agree more with the ambassador of Lebanon stating how impossible it is to maintain peace and security if states are not responsible for their internationally wrongful acts. I believe self-observation is in place, coming from a representative whose state in which a designated terrorist organization, Hezbollah, has the honor to sit in the Parliament and in the government.
As for my colleague from Bolivia: Bolivia's one-sided, biased, unrelenting attack on Israel exemplifies the inability of the Security Council to be more effective. One would expect that the country that just joined the Security Council would appreciate the responsibilities that such a task holds, and [so] make an effort to try to understand the complexity of the situation. But when it comes to Bolivia, it seems that, like their predecessor, Venezuala, the available Security Council seat is used to brutally attack my country; and by doing this, severely damage the credibility of this institution.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Danny Danon is Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations. This transcript of his English remarks was manually transcribed by Brian Schrauger, Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Journal.