Address by Silvan Shalom
Mr. Secretary General,
I would like to congratulate His Excellency, the Foreign Minister of St. Lucia, upon his assumption of the presidency of the General Assembly, and wish him much success.
just one month ago, every person in this hall and every member of this
organization joined us in the hope that the
The establishment of a new Palestinian government promised an end to terror and a new beginning.
This glimmer of hope was darkened on August 19th by the extremists who blew up a bus full of Jewish families on their way home from prayers at the Western Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish religion. Twenty three people, young and old, mothers and babies in their cradles, were slaughtered in this attack. This attack was carried out by Hamas, a terrorist organization, which under the Roadmap should have been dismantled by the Palestinian Authority.
Failure to dismantle Hamas has brought our diplomatic efforts to a standstill. Rather than acting to fulfill its obligation, the Palestinian Authority has chosen the route of inaction, and complicity in terror.
We cannot allow this to continue. We must bring back the hope that we can build a better future for our children. The infrastructure of terror must be dismantled so that we can put our peace efforts back on track. There is no other time. There is no other way. Mr. President,
For many years
it was thought that terrorism in the Middle East was
Today, it is not only
Even the United Nations, that for so many is a symbol of peace and goodwill, is not immune.
Standing here today in New York, just two short years after September 11th, the community of nations knows - that those who seek to advance their political agendas through killing innocents, are ready to strike at anyone or anything that represents the values of freedom and human life.
Terrorism has declared war on us all.
There can be no neutrality in the war against terrorism and there can be no immunity for those who engage in it. Abstaining is not an option.
This is not a war of choice. Terrorism will not be eliminated until the world unites against it. Our only choice is to win. Every member of the international community must take concrete and proactive measures to cut off all channels of financial, moral and political support to this common enemy.
States - members of this institution
- that sponsor terrorists and give them shelter,
are accomplices in the acts of terror themselves. They must
be held accountable for their crimes. It is
no coincidence that states that sponsor terrorism like
I know that for many in this place Yasser Arafat
is seen as the symbol of the Palestinian struggle. Tragically
- for his people and for ours - he is one of the world's icons of terror.
In the ten years since Arafat declared his
In relative numbers, this would be the same as 11,000 French or 56,000 Americans dying from terrorism in the same period of time.
This carnage must stop. Its impact on both societies is devastating.
Yasser Arafat bears direct responsibility for this.terrible suffering. He has led his people on the path of terror - from hijackings to suicide bombings - for more than thirty years. Always preferring Israeli pain over Palestinian gain.
He has been - and he remains - the greatest obstacle to peace between our peoples. For as long as he controls the levers of power- no moderate leadership can emerge.
To vote for Arafat - like we saw in this Assembly just last week - is to vote against the Palestinian people. When Arafat wins - terrorism wins, and we all lose.
Instead of rallying around Arafat, the international community must rally around the genuine interests of the Palestinian people.
They must do so now, before he leads them even further down the path of terror and destruction.
When a responsible and empowered Palestinian leadership finally emerges - a leadership ready to join the war on terror - it will find us a willing partner for peace.
We are ready to work with the Palestinians and the international community to make this vision a reality. For this to happen, the Palestinian leadership must take the moral and strategic decision to abandon terrorism once and for all, and make peacemaking possible. They must guide their people to build their own society, rather than seeking to destroy ours. They, too, must understand that it is not poverty that breeds terror but terror that breeds poverty.
We cannot stop only at dismantling the infrastructure of terror. We must also build an infrastructure of peace. It is up to political and moral leaders, everywhere, to foster an environment which rejects extremism and empowers the peacemakers.
This is particularly so in the Arab and Muslim world, where incitement
must guide their people away from the culture of hate, and replace it
with a culture of tolerance. Concrete expressions of cooperation and
exchange must be built - in media and government, education, science
and business - to reinforce the message of tolerance and acceptance.
This culture of peace must permeate
not only the borders of the
In the past, the United Nations has shown that it can play a positive role. This Assembly was key in the founding of the State of Israel, fifty-five years ago. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 are our guideposts, to negotiations and peace.
To play such a constructive role
in the future, the UN must reform. It must move away from the partisan
hostility that has taken over its
For more than three decades, this Assembly has passed every year a litany
of resolutions designed to discredit
In my hand, I am holding a collection of the decisions of the 57th
General Assembly on the
No other country has suffered such unjustified attack and consistent discrimination within the UN system. The time has come to end this campaign of diplomatic incitement.
For the sake of Israelis and Palestinians - for the sake of the UN and peace itself - I call on this body to rise above the tired politics of yesterday, and adopt a new, courageous agenda for tomorrow.
I call on the General Assembly to abandon the automatic adoption of anti-Israel resolutions, and to find ways of making itself relevant once again, to the interests of the people it claims to serve. I call on this Assembly to fulfill its historic mission and help promote what unites us, not what divides us.
On the morning of February 1 st of this year, Israel lost its first astronaut in the Columbia-space-shuttle disaster - a skilled and courageous pilot whom I knew personally, a child of Holocaust survivors, a national hero.
Colonel Ilan Ramon embodied the spirit of our nation. A man of courage and action, dedicated to the well-being of his people, just as he sought to contribute to the advancement of his fellow man.
He met his death together with colleagues from the
Our international cooperation program
is celebrated in over a hundred countries around
the globe - sharing skills, experience and knowledge to the benefit
of millions of people. We extend this hand of friendship to all the
nations of the world. We welcome our improving relations with Europe,
just as we remain committed to promoting closer ties with the nations
of Africa, Asia and the
Zionist vision of
Our founders also made a promise
not just to the people of
I know personally the profound meaning
of this historic undertaking. I came to
I stand here today to reaffirm, before the nations of the world, the commitment of my country to peace.
for the people of
It was our prophet Isaiah, who brought this message of peace to the world already centuries ago, when he said: "And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more".
This was true when President Anwar
From this great podium - a podium
shared by all humanity - I call on the leaders of
This evening I shall return to
According to our tradition, this is a time when G-d determines the fate of each and every individual for the coming year.
These are days of reflection and prayer.
May all our prayers for peace and for life be answered.
And may the actions and deeds of all
the states and peoples represented here in this hall, bring to mankind
- peace and security, and all the blessings that life can offer.