UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 21)
An Arab proposal to convene an international conference that would define terrorism and differentiate it from struggles for national liberation was denounced by Israel Wednesday as a ploy intended to “legitimize” terrorism “past and future.”
The “Godfathers are seeking to define organized crime,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Binyamin Netanyahu, said of the proposal presented to the General Assembly by Libya and Syria Tuesday night. “No doubt these two regimes know the topic well. In fact, no two other regimes are more experienced practitioners of this craft,” Netanyahu said.
The proposal, which technically was offered by Libya on behalf of Syria, was submitted to the General Assembly’s legal committee for discussion, after which it may be returned to the General Assembly in the form of a draft resolution to be voted on.
The idea of a conference to redefine terrorism has been brewing at the United Nations for some time. Israeli diplomats told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Wednesday that Israel and the United States have been campaigning vigorously in recent weeks against Arab plans to convene such a conference. According to observers here, the Arabs are searching for legal grounds to continue their violent struggle against Israel, Israeli citizens and institutions.
“Libya and Syria seek a distinction between terrorism and ‘national liberation,'” Netanyahu said. “By this logic, if terrorists massacre passengers at an airport or bomb a discotheque in the name of national liberation — that is not terrorism.
“But terrorism has nothing to do with the real or stated aims of its perpetrators. Terrorism is defined by what the terrorists do, not by what they say they do it for,” the Israeli envoy stated.
“With these proposals, Libya and Syria want to confuse our understanding of terrorism and thereby legitimize their crimes, past and future. They want to do so by deliberately mixing ends and means. But ends and means do not mix — and must not be mixed. This is the whole basis of morality. Terrorism is a means, a criminal means. Nothing justifies it and nothing will,” Netanyahu said.