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Ambassador Prosor's final speech at the UN General Assembly

In my four years as Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, I have seen hypocrisy, I have seen duplicity, and I have seen a triple standard: One for democracies, one for dictatorships, and a special standard designed only for Israel.
Ambassador Prosor delivering his final speech at the UN General Assembly

Mr. President,

Once again, this Assembly has convened to debate a crucially important matter. Member states will be asked to make a decision that will reflect on how this institution will be perceived.

No, I am not referring to the Palestinian flag. The lives of Israelis and Palestinians will remain the same whether or not a Palestinian flag flies in New York. I am speaking of a much more important decision.

The real question we face is not whether the Palestinians will raise a flag, but whether the United Nations will raise a white flag - and surrender the principles of this institution itself.

Next month, I will complete more than four years as Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. During my time here, I have met with diplomats from all around the world, I have participated in many meetings of the General Assembly and the Security Council, and I have even had the honor to preside over this very Assembly.

In my four years, I have seen hypocrisy, I have seen duplicity, and I have seen a triple standard: One for democracies, one for dictatorships, and a special standard designed only for Israel. I thought I had seen everything. But I have to admit, this time, the Palestinians managed to take cynicism to a whole new level.

Make no mistake; the goal of this resolution is a photo op. The Palestinians want to bring together world dignitaries and the media to gather around and watch as Mahmoud Abbas raises a flag. They plan to use the prestige of the UN as a backdrop for this charade. Surprise, surprise, they did all this in contravention of all the established rules and procedures of the United Nations.

During every session of the Assembly, hundreds of resolutions are passed, and hundreds of decisions are taken. From the most significant, to the merely procedural. Yet, I can't remember one time - not a single one - where member states were given an opportunity for discussion, debate, and reflection. You, here in this room, in this chamber, know better than anyone else how exhausting, cumbersome, and frustrating this process can sometimes be.

Do we always enjoy this process? Probably not.

Yet, we do it because we all understand that this deliberative and collaborative process represents the ideals that this institution was supposed to stand for: Democracy, transparency, and open communication. We do it because, although we have real, real differences, we all value the process and have respect for the countries represented here; their points of view and beliefs. We all understand that this is the only way that this institution can function.

However, in my time here, I have learned that there is one delegation that all of those rules and procedures don't apply to. Again and again, the Palestinians seem to be able to do whatever they want, and are free to act with impunity. In short, they have learned that the more they say no, the more the international community says yes to their every whim and caprice.

So it is no surprise that the Palestinians show no regard for the values of this institution, and that they cynically manipulate the UN to score political points. Time and again, the Palestinians use and abuse the UN. The sad part is, that you - you in this chamber - allow them to get away with it.

Consider the events of the last two weeks. As the summer began to wind down, and this session was drawing to a close, the Palestinians surprised member states with a resolution proposing to change a rule, which has been in existence since the UN was founded.

Did they circulate a zero draft of the resolution? Perhaps they just forgot. Did they invite member states to any informal consultation? I guess they couldn't be bothered. Did they negotiate the language of the resolution with member states? Of course not. They knew that most member states would sign on the dotted line no matter what it said.

As a matter of fact, the Palestinian delegation simply announced their plan, promoted it in a dishonest and manipulative manner, and expected member states to fall in line behind them.

If this behavior was not bad enough, the story does not end there. Not only did the Palestinians blatantly disregard UN practices, they deliberately deceived member states. When they introduced their initiative, the Palestinians informed member states that the Vatican was a partner in their plan. Apparently, the Vatican did not get the memo.

This blatant lie was exposed to all by the media. As a matter of fact, the Vatican declared that they are not a partner to this initiative, they didn't ask for it, and they have no aspiration to raise their flag at the UN. The Palestinians were caught red-handed violating every principle of honesty and integrity we all hold dear. Yet, despite this brazen deception, which every delegation in this chamber knows of, many of you here still voted to adopt this resolution.

Voting yes on this resolution means that when it comes to the Palestinians, the standard rules no longer apply. More important than whether you permit the Palestinians to fly a flag is whether you permit them to undermine the rules and procedures, and, ultimately, the credibility of this institution.

How ironic is it that this resolution was considered under the agenda item 'Strengthening of the UN System', when it clearly weakens and undermines the UN.

Mr. President,

Let no one in this hall, or around the world, be fooled by the outcome of today's vote.

This Assembly would vote to declare that the earth is flat if the Palestinians proposed it. By the way, the EU would probably try to reach a consensus to abstain on the vote, but some EU countries would consider it a matter of principle to declare that the world is, indeed, flat - if it now is how the Palestinians see it.

Speaking of consensus, apparently the EU's principle of maintaining a holy consensus cannot withstand Palestinian pressure. Yet, they stand firm when their consensus is against Israel.

However, no vote can turn an empty symbolic gesture into a state. The international community must make it clear to the Palestinians that the only way to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations. As long as the Palestinians believe that they can achieve their political goals without making concessions, they will continue to avoid taking the difficult decisions needed for peace.

Maybe the international community should recommend that the Palestinians download the Waze GPS app so they can find their way to the negotiating table. Then, they will be able to discover that the distance from Ramallah to Jerusalem is less than ten miles. There is no need to fly halfway around the world to New York in order to make peace.

Unfortunately, instead of trying to guide the Palestinians down the path to peace, the international community is helping them to ride off the tracks.

We don't need support groups, or pre-conditions that only complicate the situation. Too many are addicted to the process. This is not a meeting of Diplomats Anonymous.

What we do need is for the international community to tell the Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table:
Enough with empty symbols
Enough with political showmanship
Enough with hijacking the UN agenda
Stop stalling, and start negotiating.

Palestinians and Israelis need real steps to peace, not empty gestures, and the vote today may serve the interests of Palestinians leaders, but it will not help the Palestinian people.

Mr. President,

This whole situation would be different if the flag they want to raise represented democratic values, which are all too rare in the region. Those who support raising this flag, ask yourself:

Is it a flag of good governance?
Is this a flag of gender equality?
Is it a flag of free elections, so desperately needed in a place where President Abbas is in his eleventh year of a five year term?

If the international community does not demand that the Palestinians enact these basic rights and freedoms, the flag they raise will be a flag of disappointment rather than hope, and of failure rather than progress.

Mr. President,

The people of Israel seek peace with our neighbors. Just this morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, and declared once again that he is ready to come and resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians anywhere without preconditions.

We all remember the historic images of Prime Minster Begin and President Sadat, and of Prime Minster Rabin and King Hussein, coming together in peace. History proves to us that negotiations can be fruitful, that peace is possible, and that we can create a new reality for the people of the region.

And now, in my final statement as Israel's permanent representative, I say to you.

I look forward to seeing the image of an Israeli Prime Minster and a Palestinian leader standing side by side, raising the flags of our two peoples, living together in peace. That will be a photo truly worth taking.

Thank you, Mr. President.
Read more...

Ambassador Prosor addresses UN Security Council

Charter of the United Nations: Maintaining International Peace and Security

This debate was convened to reaffirm international commitment to the principles of the UN Charter which speaks about the UN as a center for harmony among nations. The only harmony I hear is the chorus of condemnations against Israel.
Oscars for Maintenance of International Peace and Security

Seventy years ago, representatives of 50 nations met in San Francisco met to draw up the Charter of the newly formed United Nations. President Truman addressed the conference saying, “With this Charter the world can begin to look forward to the time when all worthy human beings may be permitted to live decently as free people.”

The signatories believed that every man and woman on this earth has dignity and rights. After witnessing the ravages of two world wars in the span of a generation, they understood that freedom is never free. It is not enough to write a charter or give a speech, freedom must be fought for.

Mr. President,

Article 1 of the UN’s Charter outlines the institution’s four purposes.

The first is to maintain international peace and security and take effective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace.

The greatest threat to global security is posed by radical Islamist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram. The battle being waged against these groups is a battle between civility and barbarism, between pluralistic and totalitarian societies, between tyranny and freedom.

Day by day extremism is spreading its ugly tentacles and in the process, destabilizing communities and nations. The threat is obvious and it is growing, and yet this Council has been reluctant to take decisive action. Worse, it has on occasion, surrendered to those nations that harbor, fund and support terrorist groups.

On January 28th Hezbollah terrorists fired anti-tank missiles at an IDF vehicle in northern Israel, killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring seven others. Hezbollah immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. One would think that in light of this clear admission of guilt, the Security Council would immediately and unequivocally condemn Hezbollah. Yet it took an entire week to release a statement that didn’t even mention the terrorist group.

If we intend to fight terror, we must not differentiate between terror and terror - there is no good terror or bad terror group, and we must treat them all alike.

Hezbollah has held Lebanon hostage for the better part of three decades and now seems intent on holding the Security Council hostage as well. Thanks to the backroom dealings of its Iranian patron, Hezbollah has been allowed to continue its reign of terror.

Here in the theater of the absurd, it wouldn't surprise me if ISIS was given a starring role on the Human Rights Council. Let me be clear - this institution cannot claim to uphold international security while indulging those nations that are actively undermining peace and security.

Mr. President,

The second purpose of the UN Charter is to advance relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights.

If we are honest with ourselves then we will admit that we have not done enough to defend basic freedoms. One example is the Middle East - Across the Middle East repressive regimes seek to control what people think, how they are educated, whom they can love, and what they believe.

For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the landscape of the Middle East. Today that figure has dwindled to less than 10 percent. We saw an example of this brutal persecution just last week when ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.

But it’s not just Christians being persecuted; all minority groups are at risk. As we speak, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month.

Extremists have unleashed a plague of persecution believing that by silencing individuals, they can silence civilization. Nobel prize winner and humanitarian activist, Elie Wiesel said (and I quote), “Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.”

Millions of men and women look to us to defend their dignity and their rights and we are simply not doing enough to help them.

Mr. President,

The third purpose of the Charter is to promote and encourage respect for human rights.

The primary body responsible for upholding this principle is the Human Rights Council. Members of the Council currently include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, and Venezuela. I imagine there isn’t a person in this room who would want to be placed on trial in one of the countries. And I would think that no one here would be willing to write an article criticizing one of these governments while living under its dominion - certainly not if you valued your liberty or your life.

Yet these and other human rights offenders are given leadership roles in this institution. In 2008, for example, Saudi Arabia - a regime notorious for public executions, lashings, and beheadings - was elected the special rapporteur of the UN’s Third Committee dealing with human rights.

The fact of the matter is that this institution has been hijacked. The ruthless autocracies that jail journalists rush to lecture us on the virtues of a free press. The repressive dictatorships that persecute political opponents filibuster on the sanctity of free and fair elections. And the mass-murdering tyrannical regimes preach to us about human rights.

Yet, instead of criticizing these regimes, the very nations that undermine international peace get elected to the UN bodies responsible for maintaining global security. In 2013, the General Assembly elected Iran to the UN committee that deals with disarmament and international security. This is like inviting North Korea to write a resolution on cyber security.

But the absurdity doesn’t end there. Last year Iran was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the UN’s legal committee - an unusual choice given that Iranian citizens are denied due process and fair trials. It’s remarkable that Iran is so active in international affairs given that its citizens are not afforded opportunities to participate in Iranian national affairs.

Mr. President,

The fourth and final purpose of the Charter is to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.

Mr. President - you convened this debate to reaffirm international commitment to the principles outlined in the UN Charter. The Charter speaks about the United Nations as a center for harmonizing the actions of nations, but the only harmony I hear, is the chorus of condemnations aimed against Israel.

This institution will never live up to the principles in its charter so long as it persistently, consistently, and insistently focuses on Israel. Last year, the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation and only three resolutions to protest the actions of all other nations combined.

The worst humanitarian crisis of our generation is taking place in Syria where over 200,000 men, women, and children have been murdered by a regime that employs torture, starvation, chemical weapons, and barrel bombs. And yet the General Assembly passed just one resolution condemning the brutal Syrian regime.

Since 2006, more than half of all resolutions adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in criticism of a particular country have been directed at Israel. This isn’t logical, it isn’t moral - it is simply prejudice.

When the actions of the UN are placed against the yardstick of its Charter, the institution simply doesn’t measure up. We are failing those who need us most.

Mr. President,

Last night Hollywood celebrated the Oscars, and as millions tuned in, I thought of the following.

If the Oscars for Maintenance of International Peace and Security were given at the UN, I would not be surprised if these candidates were awarded prizes.

In the Best Actor Category - for acting like a peace loving country while developing nuclear capabilities, denying the Holocaust, and threatening the destruction of another member state... the Oscar goes to Iran.

In the category for Best Supporting Actor - for its unrelenting support to the Assad Regime in killing hundreds of thousands of civilians... the Oscar goes to Hezbollah.

In the category for Best Visual Effects - for making women disappear from the public sphere, the Oscar goes to... surprise surprise... Saudi Arabia. No competition there.

And finally, for rewriting history, the Oscar for Best Editing goes to... the Palestinian Authority. But the truth is - the Palestinian Authority already received enough prizes from this institution.

Mr. President, Oscars aside, if we want to pursue peace and security in the real world, it is time to bring down the curtain on this theater of the absurd and return the original values of the UN Charter back to center stage.

Thank you, Mr. President.
Read more...

Israel Joins JUSCANZ

Ambassador Prosor: Israel's admission into JUSCANZ highlights the international community's recognition of our democracy. We are a beacon of human rights, equality, and freedom in the Middle East.


For the first time, Israel participated in one of the core coordinating groups focused on human rights and social policy at the United Nations. Israel joins the “JUSCANZ” caucus in the United Nation’s Third Committee along with the world's most advanced democracies including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Norway, and Switzerland.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor hailed Israel's admission into JUSCANZ and said: "An historical injustice has been corrected. Anyone who champions human rights must celebrate this announcement. Israel's admission into JUSCANZ highlights the international community's recognition of our democracy. In the Middle East, a region where women are stoned to death and minorities executed, we are a beacon of human rights, equality, and freedom."
The Israeli Mission to the UN is leading in promoting women's empowerment, gender equality and the rights of person with disabilities.

Read more...

Ambassador Prosor addresses UN Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East

President Abbas could learn a great deal from King Hussein of Jordan about demonstrating his commitment to making peace.

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor addressed the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East. Ambassador Prosor attacked the Palestinian leadership's continuous incitement against Israel and discussed the violence and instability afflicting the Middle East.

Ambassador Prosor said: "President Abbas could learn a great deal from King Hussein of Jordan about demonstrating his commitment to making peace. I and most Israelis will never forget the sight of King Hussein consoling the Israeli families whose children had been killed in a terrorist attack.

Contrast this picture, with a picture from just a few weeks ago when released terrorists were given a heroes’ welcome by the Palestinians and embraced by President Abbas. Murderers were met with fireworks and festivities and showered with candies and congratulations. The Palestinian Authority is rewarding terrorists with tens of thousands of dollars. The motto of the PA’s pension plan seems to be ‘the more you slay, the more we pay.'

From cradles to kindergartens and from schools to soccer stadiums, Palestinian children are besieged by messages of hate. They are born in hospitals named after violent Palestinian groups, attend schools named after terrorists, and are taught from textbooks that describe Zionism as racism."

Referring to the ongoing peace talks, Ambassador Prosor said: "The Palestinian leadership has yet to learn that real peace requires real commitment. You cannot condemn terrorism to international media and congratulate terrorists on Palestinian media. You cannot victimize others and then insist you are the victim. And you cannot use this forum to spread destructive messages and expect constructive results. "

Ambassador Prosor also referred to the new Iranian president and emphasized that since his election, Iran is still persecuting minorities, imprisoning journalists and targeting political adversaries.

He said: "Rather than cleaning house, the new president believes he can sweep Iran’s atrocities under the Persian rug. Behind Iran’s smiling façade, President Rouhani and Ayatollah Khamenei continue to preach hatred and provoke hostility. The ink is barely dry on the interim nuclear agreement and Iran is already showing its true colors. This is a regime that crosses red lines, produces yellow cake, and beats its citizens black and blue.

It doesn’t take a crime scene investigator to see Iran’s fingerprints on the violence erupting in parts of the Middle East."

Read more...
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