Saturday, April 16, 2016

Israeli envoy reflects on time at UN [interview]


Image from article, with caption: Israel's envoy to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses a United Nations Security Council meeting on the Middle East at the UN headquarters in New York, Jan. 26, 2016.

[Danny] Danon began his appointment at the United Nations last October, just as the terror wave, also known as the individual intifada, erupted back home. Like his predecessors, he is constantly busy trying to fend off UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israel and Palestinian declarations designed to embarrass Israel. ...
Al-Monitor:  You put a lot of effort into convincing the UN about the dangers of Hezbollah’s armament. Is anyone listening to you?
Danon:  Even if no one listens, I put the issue on the table. For me, it’s an agenda, a work plan. I am building up the public diplomacy case. I want to warn in real time that Hezbollah is growing stronger, acquiring missiles and that eventually they will instigate a conflict with us. This is sure to happen, and we will respond. When we respond, the UN will attack Israel [through declarations], but then we will be able to show that we warned in real time how Hezbollah was arming itself, and no one tried to stop them. I mention the issue at every opportunity and provide data — the names of villages where Hezbollah operates, next to schools, next to UN camps, inside homes — placing missiles in them. I tell them, eventually we will have to destroy these missiles, and there will be civilian casualties, so do something. The Security Council must wake up and take a stand on this issue.
Al-Monitor:  Do the recent terror attacks in Europe help Israel make its case or do they make it harder?
Danon:  There’s no doubt that public opinion is changing here [outside of Israel], too, and it’s easier to explain what we have to endure. There’s no doubt this is an important issue for many countries. Muslim states are afraid of it. Sadly, we have experienced much terrorism, and we know how to handle it, but some countries are truly under stress, troubled by how they can get on with life in the shadow of terrorism. I am asked about this more and more in personal conversations at the UN too. Ambassadors want to know, for example, how we maintain security at airports and how to conduct cyber warfare, in which Israel is a world leader. I take these opportunities to showcase aspects in which we excel. I have brought Israeli experts here, army people, top brass, for briefings on issues of cyber warfare and terrorism. ...

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