Statement by Ambassador Ron Prosor
UN Security Council
“Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East”
23 April 2012
Thank you, Madame President. Let me begin by thanking you, personally, for your outstanding leadership of the Security Council this month.
Churchill once said, “In the time that it takes a lie to get halfway around the world, the truth is still getting its pants on.”
In the barren deserts of theMiddle East, myths find fertile ground to grow wild. Facts often remain buried in the sand. The myths forged in our region travel abroad – and can surprisingly find their way into these halls.
I would like to use today’s debate as an opportunity to address just a few of the myths that have become a permanent hindrance to our discussion of theMiddle East here at the United Nations.
Myth number one: the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is the central conflict in theMiddle East. If you solve that conflict, you solve all the other conflicts in the region.
Make no mistake: it is important for Israel and the Palestinians to resolve our longstanding conflict for its own merits. Yet, the truth is that conflicts in Syria,Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, and many other parts of the Middle East have absolutely nothing to do with Israel.
It is obvious that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict won’t stop the persecution of minorities across the region, end the subjugation of women, or heal the sectarian divides. Obsessing over Israel has not stopped Assad’s tanks from flattening entire communities. On the contrary, it has only distracted attention from his crimes.
This debate – even this morning – has lost any sense of proportion. Thousands are being killed in Syria, hundreds inYemen, dozens in Iraq — and yet, this debate again repeatedly is focusing on the legitimate actions of the government of the only democracy in the Middle East.
And dedicating the majority of this debate to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, month after month after after month, has not stopped the Iranian regime’s centrifuges from spinning. Iran’s ambitions for nuclear weapons are the single greatest threat to the Middle East, and the entire world.
The Iranian nuclear program continues to advance at the speed of an express train. The international community’s efforts to stop them are moving at the pace of the local train, pausing at every stop for some nations to get on and off. The danger of inaction is clear. We cannot allow the diplomatic channel to provide another avenue for the Iranian regime to stall for more time, as they inch closer and closer to a nuclear weapon.
Myth number two: there is a humanitarian crisis in theGaza Strip.
In fact, numerous international organizations have said clearly that there is no humanitarian crisis inGaza, including the Deputy Head of the Red Cross Office in the area.
Gaza’s real GDP grew by more than 25 percent during the first three quarters of 2011. Exports are expanding. International humanitarian projects are moving forward at a rapid pace.
There is not a single civilian good that cannot enter Gaza today. Yet, as aid flows into the area, missiles fly out. This is the crisis in Gaza. And that is what keeps Gaza from realizing its real potential.
It is a simple equation. If it is calm in Israel, it will be calm in Gaza. But the people of Gaza will face hardship as long as terrorists use them as human shields to rain rockets down on Israeli cities.
Each rocket in Gaza is armed with a warhead capable of causing a political earthquake that would extend well beyondIsrael’s borders. It will only take one rocket that lands in the wrong place at the wrong time to change the equation on the ground. If that happens, Israel’s leaders would be forced to respond in a completely different manner.