The representatives of Lebanon and Israel have the floor

July 15, 2006

Last night I watched live coverage of the UN Security Council meeting in emergency session to consider the Israeli attacks on Lebanon over the recent days. The contributions of the US, French, UK and Russian representatives were mainly froth, of the kind we have come to accept as usual in international diplomatic discourse. ‘We express our….’, ‘We call upon….’, ‘We reiterate our…..’ and the rest.

But of course the main game lay with the main players, Lebanon and Israel. The Permanent Representatives of both countries were very impressive: these were two patriots, in the best sense of the word. Somehow they dwarfed the speakers that followed.

Lebanon’s representative Gevran Soufan spoke well and effectively, with a certain stoic dignity mixed with deep anger at the violence visited on his country.

Mr President, the Security Council meets today in the shadow of a widespread barbaric aggression waged by Israel to this very moment against my nation, Lebanon, destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure, and causing the death of innocent civilians in full view of the international community, which is today called upon to curb this Israeli aggression and immediately bring it to an end.

Yet the message underlying the speech was unmistakeable — helplessness. Lebanon is helpless to prevent Hizbollah doing as it wants in the southern suburbs of Beirut and the southern regions of Lebanon, where the government’s writ does not run. Helpless too to prevent the relentless Israeli attacks, as the region’s superpower strikes out with its mailed fist — as, where and when it chooses. Wittingly or not, Gevran Soufan cried out for his country’s rescue.

Then it was Israel’s turn. Its representative, Dan Gillerman, in precise, slightly accented English, delivered this powerful address.

Some highlights:

Two days ago, Hizbullah terrorists, operating with impunity in southern Lebanon, unleashed a sudden and unprovoked attack into Israeli territory. Scores of Katyusha rockets rained down on Israeli towns and villages, causing many civilian casualties. In the midst of this horrific assault, Hizbullah terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing a number of soldiers and kidnapping two more, who were taken deep into the terrorist stronghold of Lebanon.


The hundreds of Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon in the last few days demonstrate the magnitude of the immense arsenal of rockets and weapons that Hizbullah has amassed over the last few years, a danger we have repeatedly warned against. Many of the long-range missiles that have hit Israeli towns – including Nahariya, Zefat, Rosh Pina and the port city of Haifa – were launched from private homes with families residing inside, where a special room was designated as a launching pad, with the family playing host to the missile. This is yet another example of the cynical and brutal way the Hizbullah organization uses civilians as human shields, with complete disregard for human life.


Lebanon is today occupied by terror, whether in the south, where it is directed at Israel, or in Beirut, where it kills opponents of Syria and former prime ministers. The real occupying power in Lebanon is terror – terror instigated by Hizbullah but initiated, funded and perpetrated by Syria and Iran.

And finally, after quoting, among others, a leading Lebanese politician who said, a day or two ago, that ‘Damascus gives the orders, Iran supplies the equipment, Israel reacts, Lebanon is the victim’, Dan Gillerman turned to Gevran Soufan and said, addressing him directly:

You know, deep down, that if you could, you would add your voice to those of your brave countrymen. You know, deep down in your heart, that you should really be sitting here, next to me, voicing the same opinion. You know that what we are doing is right, and, if we succeed, your country will be the real beneficiary. I am sure many of our colleagues around this table and in this chamber, including many of our neighbours, share this sentiment.

The cameras caught the uncomfortable Gevran Soufan as he flinched and looked down. It was an eloquent moment.



  1. Excellent piece of analysis again

  2. Why do I get the sense that the world’s going to Hell in a handbasket… again?

    Great post Rob.

  3. Except Israel bombed civillian areas that were not only anti Hezbollah, but in some cases almost pro Israel.

  4. Yes, I’ve seen Totten’s post, Alex, and linked to it. But there’s a wealth of evidence suggests otherwise – that the IDF has only struck Hizbollah areas and strongholds, and even then, dropped flyers warning residents of the attacks to come. No wonder the Hizbollah leader managed to escape.

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