Date: 9/29/2003


Extract from the Text of Silvan Shalom's address to UN General Assembly

Until just one month ago, every person in this hall and every member of this organization joined us in the hope that the Middle East peace process might finally be back on track, and that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be on the horizon.

The establishment of a new Palestinian government promised an end to terror and a new beginning.

This glimmer of hope was darkened on August 19th by the extremists who blew up a bus full of Jewish families on their way home from prayers at the Western Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish religion. Twenty three people, young and old, mothers and babies in their cradles, were slaughtered in this attack. This attack was carried out by Hamas, a terrorist organization, which under the Roadmap should have been dismantled by the Palestinian Authority.

Failure to dismantle Hamas has brought our diplomatic efforts to a standstill. Rather than acting to fulfill its obligation, the Palestinian Authority has chosen the route of inaction, and complicity in terror.

We cannot allow this to continue. We must bring back the hope that we can build a better future for our children. The infrastructure of terror must be dismantled so that we can put our peace efforts back on track. There is no other time. There is no other way.

Mr. President,

For many years it was thought that terrorism in the Middle East was Israel's problem, not the world's. Today, the world knows otherwise.

Today, it is not only Israel which mourns the loss of its loved ones, women and children and babies, at the hands of the terrorists. We have sadly been joined by peoples from across the globe - from Mombassa to Casablanca, Moscow to Bali.

Even the United Nations, that for so many is a symbol of peace and goodwill, is not immune.

Standing here today in New York, just two short years after September 11th, the community of nations knows - that those who seek to advance their political agendas through killing innocents, are ready to strike at anyone or anything that represents the values of freedom and human life.

Terrorism has declared war on us all.

Israel has often stood alone in this battle. A country which has suffered more than any other from terrorism, we have always understood the danger it poses to democracy and freedom everywhere, even when others refused to see, and condemned us for our actions. We have always understood that terrorism - no matter what cause it claims to serve - seeks only to destroy, not to build.

There can be no neutrality in the war against terrorism and there can be no immunity for those who engage in it. Abstaining is not an option.

This is not a war of choice. Terrorism will not be eliminated until the world unites against it. Our only choice is to win. Every member of the international community must take concrete and proactive measures to cut off all channels of financial, moral and political support to this common enemy.

States - members of this institution - that sponsor terrorists and give them shelter, are accomplices in the acts of terror themselves. They must be held accountable for their crimes. It is no coincidence that states that sponsor terrorism like Iran and Syria, are also striving to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction. Their hostility to freedom and the rule of law puts the very future of humanity in jeopardy. ________