Diplomat defends Israel’s actions against aggressors

Staff Writer

Diplomat defends Israel’s
actions against aggressors
Staff Writer

Chaim ShachamChaim Shacham

The man who regularly defends Israel at the United Nations General Assembly talked with a group of local pro-Israel residents about how to defend that nation against its detractors in the United States.

In an event sponsored and organized by the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County, Marlboro, Chaim Shacham, who represents Israel at the U.N. General Assembly, spoke at a home in Marlboro on Nov. 16. The diplomat told guests that one key to defending Israel is "eliminating the confusion between cause and effect."

"Israel’s security measures don’t cause terrorism, they are a result of terrorism. If we didn’t have terrorism, then we wouldn’t have to be involved with the Palestinians," he said.

Shacham said the United Nations often neglects to place the events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in context when it issues reports or resolutions on the subject.

"For example, all the United Nations reports say that Israel … causes economic hardship [for Palestinians]. However, most of these reports totally ignore the fact that the reason the Palestinian economy is in a shambles is because the Palestinian leadership has pursued a campaign of terrorism against the Israelis," Shacham said.

Another point that people must remember when defending Israel is that the country has a right to take measures to defend itself, Shacham said.

"Just like every other country, Israel has a right to exist … it is [wrong] to expect Israel to act in a way that jeopardizes its own existence or in a way that endangers [Israeli] citizens, which the country must protect," the diplomat said. "Those who attack Israel are criticizing the country for defending itself."

People must realize how the latest stage of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, also known as the sec­ond intifada (uprising), started, Shacham said.

"The current stage of the conflict is not the result of the Israeli occupation … it is the result of the Palestinian leadership’s unwillingness to compromise. In the Camp David Summit of July 2000, (former Israeli Prime Minister) Ehud Barak made the most forthcoming offer ever made to the Palestinians and ex­pected at least a counter-offer from the Palestinians. The reply of the Palestinians was to resort to terrorism and to attempt to gain what they want through violence," Shacham said. "It’s not a question of Israel not wanting to ad­dress Palestinian aspirations. It’s a ques­tion of Israel wanting a two-way street."

During his talk, Shacham addressed several current "hot-button" issues in­volving Israel and its neighbors.

Discussing the security fence that Israel is building, according to its leaders, to shield the nation and Jewish communi­ties in the West Bank from terrorist at­tacks, Shacham said, "If there was no ter­rorism against Israel, there would be no need for a fence."

Responding to claims made by Palestinians and others that Israel is us­ing the fence, which penetrates into the West Bank in some areas, to annex land, Shacham said Israel could easily move portions of the fence in the future.

Moving to another matter, Shacham said, "We are interested in getting Syria to stop supporting terrorism against Israel."

Shacham said the Syrians allow Hizbollah, a Lebanese fundamentalist terrorist group, and Lebanon-based Palestin-ian groups to conduct training and operations in Lebanon, which Syria effectively controls. Syria also allows ter­rorists and supplies to land in Syria and make their way into Lebanon, the diplo­mat added.

"Syria is running out of friends, so it’s no longer uncouth to conduct military op­erations" against the country, Shacham said.

In October, after an attack against Israelis by the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad, Israel bombed a training camp in Syria that was used by the orga­nization, Shacham reported. Before tak­ing that action, Shacham revealed, Israeli jets tried to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad by flying very close to his palace.

Shacham was born and raised in Chicago and emigrated to Israel after graduating from high school, Davida Nugiel, a spokeswoman for the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County said when introducing the diplomat.

When Shacham is not representing Israel at the U.N. General Assembly, he is responsible for writing all English-lan­guage documents and speeches for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Nugiel added.