The United Nations called an emergency special session of the General Assembly on Thursday to consider Israeli treatment of the Palestinians. The following is the text of the speech delivered by Israeli Ambassador Aaron Jacob. The text was provided by the Israeli Consulate in New York. NEW YORK, Dec. 20 — Mr. President, This past Sunday, increasing international pressure finally moved Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to address the issues of terrorism. Speaking in Arabic on Palestinian television, Chairman Arafat spoke about the need to stop violent terrorist attacks against Israelis. Chairman Arafat´s statement was broadcast and rebroadcast across the world, and the world held its breath — wondering, hoping, praying, that perhaps this time, he truly meant it, that he would back up his words with equally resolute action, that we would not again be disappointed. For all those who wondered and hoped and prayed, I´m afraid we now have an answer. Chairman Arafat´s attempt to prove to the world that he had finally shed the garb of the violent revolutionary lasted barely two days. Speaking to a rally in the city of Ramallah this past Tuesday, Chairman Arafat delivered another, vastly different speech. In that speech, he stated the following: "With God´s help, next time we will meet in Jerusalem, because we are fighting to bring victory to our prophets, every baby, every kid, every man, every woman and every old person and all the young people, we will all sacrifice ourselves for our holy places and we will strengthen our hold of them and we are willing to give 70 of our martyrs for every one of theirs in this campaign, because this is our holy land. We will continue to fight for this blessed land and I call on you to stand strong." Are these the words of a leader who is intent on fulfilling his recent declaration to end violence and terror? Is this call to arms compatible with the Palestinian leader´s stated desire to reach a peaceful resolution of the conflict between our two peoples? Distinguished delegates, the cynicism of the Palestinian leadership knows no bounds. In recent weeks, as the intensity of the Palestinian terrorist campaign against Israel has reached a feverish pitch, a resounding chorus of world leaders have called upon Chairman Arafat to end the violence and the terror. This was Chairman Arafat´s moment, his moment of truth, his opportunity to demonstrate to Israel and to the world that he was not merely trying to appease his Western audience. And despite his speech on Palestinian television, it is clear that Chairman Arafat is once again heading down the road on which he has traveled countless times in the past, the road of duplicity and deceit and evasion. In short, the road to nowhere. The Palestinian Authority has failed to take the steps necessary to end the violence and terrorism that are a vital precondition for the resumption of political negotiations. Key terrorist figures are still at large, incitement still pours forth from Palestinian leaders and the official media, illegal weapons have not been confiscated, and basic commitments to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad remain unfulfilled. Those terrorists that are arrested are released within a few hours or a few days. This emergency special session, which, I wish to note, violates the basic legal conditions set out for its convening, represents the continuance of the Palestinian drive to win international sanction for their intransigence. After failing to prevail in the Security Council last Friday, they are now turning to the General Assembly to exert pressure on Israel and, yet again, permit the Palestinian leadership to avoid taking the action that the world has demanded of it. The Palestinians are unfailingly energetic in their efforts before international fora. Numerous one-sided resolutions are adopted by the Assembly every year. The United Nations expends copious and scarce resources each year to publicize the Palestinian cause, and an entire division of the Secretariat is devoted exclusively to advancing Palestinian rights. High Contracting Parties met recently in Geneva to exert pressure on Israel. The Security Council met less than one week ago to consider the situation in the region. The Palestinians spare no efforts when it comes to international fora, but they refuse to do the one thing that will truly advance their cause and remove the greatest obstacle to the achievement of peace and security to the region: ending the terror, ending the incitement, ending the violence. Mr. President, It is repeatedly claimed that the root of the conflict in our region is the occupation, an occupation that Israel never wanted and that it has gone to unprecedented lengths to end. But with the images of murdered and maimed Israelis filling television screens on a daily basis, any objective observer would be forced to acknowledge that terrorism is the immediate and central obstacle to peaceful dialogue. And it is only through peaceful dialogue that we can ensure the security and prosperity of both peoples. Only in United Nations resolutions is the basic reality of our conflict so grossly misrepresented. The draft resolution under consideration today is but another example of a counterproductive effort that precisely misses the point. It serves merely to divert the attention and the resources of the international community and to relieve the mounting pressure on the Palestinian leadership to finally exert its authority to bring an end to violence and terrorism. The tired notion of occupation as the root of the conflict is revived each and every time the Palestinians need to avoid taking responsibility for the hatred and terrorism that they have fostered, or to deflect criticism for their failure to respond to Israel´s unprecedented offer at Camp David with anything other than bombs and gunfire. Furthermore, the draft resolution would steer the parties away from the fundamental imperative of ending terror and violence so that dialogue can resume. It makes assertions which seek to prejudge the outcome of negotiations and establish a false correlation between those who perpetrate terror and those who fight it. Taken as a whole, the draft resolution invokes misleading language and amounts to an effort to provide diplomatic cover and manipulate the United Nations into providing a rubber stamp for the chronic failure to end the Palestinian terrorist campaign. The draft is, quite simply, out of touch with the reality in the region and would guarantee the irrelevance of the General Assembly in any efforts to restore calm to the region. Palestinian terrorism is a menace that is only growing stronger. This year alone, there have been 27 Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel and nearly 3,000 attacks overall. Hundreds have been killed, thousands have been injured, and nothing has been accomplished, either for Palestinians or Israelis, save for a turning back of the clock to a period of greater mistrust and animosity. The drafters of the Uniting for Peace resolution could never have imagined that its provisions would be used to further the interests of those who themselves endanger peace and security, in contravention of its procedural preconditions. By adopting this draft resolution, the Assembly will enable the Palestinians to circumvent the international pressure that has rightfully been exerted upon them to fight terror. By taking such an action, this Assembly undermines its own credibility in light of its call, in the wake of the attacks of September 11th, for a comprehensive and unrelenting campaign against terrorism. I say to you today, as we have said unwaveringly from the outset, that Israel is committed to the Middle East peace process. We are committed to the full implementation of the Mitchell Report in its designated sequence. And we are committed to engaging in serious and substantive negotiations, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, conducted in a spirit of partnership and goodwill, which will pave the way for a future of peace and coexistence between our two peoples. But the first step back to that path must be, can only be, an end to terror. Mr. President, This Assembly opened after the most horrific terrorist attacks in history with the promise that terror will be fought wherever and whenever it exists. We cannot now, as the Assembly draws to a close, renege on that promise.
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JTA Staff This article was posted by JTA staff.