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Israel's UN Envoy: Iran Engine of Terror

Monday, 20 August 2007 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- In an exclusive interview with NewsMax, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Dan Gillerman took some time late last week to discuss a wide range of issues.

The Israeli diplomat raised warning flags about a return to the region of the Russian navy as well as a resurgent Hezbollah rearming in Lebanon.

Gillerman arrived at the U.N. in January 2003, having made his name in the world of Israeli business.

A native-born Israeli, Gillerman, 63, was educated at Tel Aviv and Hebrew Universities.

Before entering the world of Israeli diplomacy, Gillerman served as a senior executive at two of Israel's largest banks, the Israel Discount Bank and Bank Leumi le Israel. He is also a past president of the Israel Chamber of Commerce.

At the U.N., Gillerman became vice president of the 60th General Assembly. He was the first Israeli to hold such a position since the legendary foreign minister Abba Eban held the post in 1952.

Gillerman: There is absolutely no doubt that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is one of the world's most lethal terrorist organizations. In fact, Hezbollah in Lebanon is nothing more than another division, another unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Units of that guard are used by Iran to destabilize different areas around the world as part of its master plan of terrorizing the world ... I think it (the Bush move) is long overdue. It is one of the most extreme, most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world.

I certainly hope so. The Iranians are the world's main engine of terror. Anything that is done to minimize the spread of Iranian terror is welcomed. This has happened with Hamas, with Hezbollah, it took some time for the international community to understand, to realize how dangerous they are, and today they are outlawed in most countries and and I hope the same will happen with the Iranians.

They are not working in the sense that they have not stopped Iran from pursuing its quest for nuclear weapons. They have not stopped the president of Iran from making his mad, ranting declarations about wiping Israel off the face of the map. It has not stopped him from denying the Holocaust or preparing for the next one.

It is our feeling that the Iranians are not indifferent to those Security Council resolutions though. I think what the Iranians are most worried about is not so much a word here, a sanction there, as they are about the unanimity of those resolutions. I don't think Iran is North Korea. I don't think Iran wants to be labeled as a pariah, to be isolated. I think that they have been quite rattled by this unanimity of the international community. I think it is having some effect.

I think that all options are viable. I think that no option whatsoever should be taken off the table. I am sure that there is a military option, whether it would be exercised or not is another matter. We should exhaust every option, every way of making diplomacy work. But, I think military action is very much there.

It's the Syrians who have mobilized, who have engaged in maneuvers and who are constantly using Lebanon, especially southern Lebanon and their proxies, Hezbollah, as they did last summer, to wage a war against Israel. Israel has no intention whatsoever to attack Syria and I think the Syrian government knows it.

Syria does not want to talk peace. Syria wants to be admitted back into the "living room" after it was put out because of its behavior. It wants to regain some legitimacy and especially wants to enter into a dialog with the United States. So, Syria is willing to make peace with the United States, it is not willing to make peace with Israel. We are willing to talk with Syria. But, the problem is, Syria is not willing to talk peace. It is willing to make some kind of "overtures" that bring it into a dialog with the United States.

Peace with Syria today is much more complex situation than it was during the times of (Yitzhak) Rabin or (Benjamin) Netanyahu. Then, it was to a some extent, more of a "real estate" deal ...it was an argument about yards, kilometers, of miles. Today, it is a much more complex picture, a much more ominous tapestry.

It is not just the Golan Heights. You still have Syria's very negative involvement in Lebanon. Its sponsorship of Hezbollah. You would still have Syria as an ally of Iran in terrorizing the world. You would still have Syria as a very negative influence in Iraq. Syria is a major hub, a host for terror organizations, over 10 of which feel very comfortable (operating) in Damascus, which is their headquarters.

Russian foreign policy is changing. Russia is trying to regain its superpower status. President Putin still regards the demise of the Soviet Union as a tragic, traumatic event and wants to project Russia as a superpower, a world power and certainly not as someone in anyone's "pocket" and be taken for granted.

Russia's whole foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is dictated more by Russia's global ambitions and is aimed more at the U.S. than at Israel. I would look very carefully at the way Vladimir Putin is acting in the international arena.

They have certainly re-armed. They are probably back to where they were last year, maybe even more. We know, we have evidence that there has been continuous smuggling - more like actual shipments - of arms over the Syrian-Lebanese border with the full complicity of Syria from Iran to Hezbollah. Hezbollah has been careful in its actions. It is not parading the arms, showing them. At the same time, it has rearmed, it is a very great danger, not only to Israel, but to Lebanon.

I met with the secretary-general. The main subject was the fact the Resolution 1701 (Israel-Lebanon ceasefire) has not been fully implemented and that the arms embargo has not been implemented, Hezbollah has not been disarmed ... I have met the French ambassador, the Russian ambassador, the American ambassador ... we are warning everybody that the situation is very vulnerable and literally explosive.

Their return is a major provision of Resolution 1701. It is one of the most important, if not, the most important part of the resolution. Unfortunately, this very tragic and humanitarian matter has not been advanced in any way. We still have no sign of any life either with Dan Regev or Ehud Goldwasser.

Hezbollah is a very cynical, a very brutal enemy. It is playing havoc with the feelings of the families. It is not willing to let the Red Cross visit those boys. It is not even willing to give a sign of life and indicate whether these boys are even alive. This is just another sign of the lethal, of the brutal and heartless enemy we are facing.

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NEW YORK -- In an exclusive interview with NewsMax, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Dan Gillerman took some time late last week to discuss a wide range of issues. The Israeli diplomat raised warning flags about a return to the region of the Russian navy as...
Monday, 20 August 2007 12:00 AM
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