“If the council truly cares about the future of the Middle East, how is it possible that not all council members have designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization?”
FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED AZAKIR)
All United Nations Security Council members must designate Hezbollah as a terrorist entity in its entirely, Israel Ambassador Gilad Erdan said his first address to the international body in New York.
“If the council truly cares about the future of the Middle East, how is it possible that not all council members have designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization?,” Erdan said.
It’s a step that has become particularly significant in the aftermath of the August explosion in Beirut’s port that killed 200 people and injured thousands, Erdan explained. The explosion was caused by a stockpile of ammonium nitrate. Israel has in the past accused Hezbollah of stockpiling munitions at the port.
Erdan noted that the August explosion has not stopped Hezbollah from putting the lives of Lebanese citizens at risk. “It has been nearly a month since Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu revealed new intelligence about a Hezbollah arms depot embedded in Beirut’s Janah neighborhood,” Erdan said.
Topics such as Hezbollah and Iran should dominate UNSC monthly debates on the Middle East, said Erdan, rather than issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which reflect a persistent UN bias against Israel.
Rather than tackling regional issues at its monthly meeting on the Middle East, “the council has for 20 years used it as a platform to focus only on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.
“Iran’s continued aggression threatens to take many more innocent lives: Muslims, Jews, Christians,” Erdan said. Under the tenure of the country President Hassan Rouhani, Iran executed “4,300 people, including minors, women, members of the LGBT community, journalists, and anti-government protesters,” he explained.
The council must use maximum pressure against Iran to ensure the protection of human rights and to prevent Iran’s aggressive regional military behavior including its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Erdan said.
To that end, the UNSC’s failure to renew its arms embargo against Iran that ended on October 18 calls into question the UNSC’s “commitment to international peace and security,” Erdan said.
He lauded the US call to reimpose the sanctions on Tehran that had been lifted by the 2015 Iran deal. The UNSC has refused to honor the US attempt to trigger that snapback option in the deal, in which sanctions on Iran would be put back in place, but the US has insisted that legally these sanctions must be reimposed.
Israel, Erdan said, stands with the US in its belief that the “sanctions on Iran, which were reinitiated by the US-triggered snapback, remain in full effect. We fully support the American initiatives in this regard.”