Australia attends a briefing at Israel’s northern border

December 7, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Australia’s ambassador to Israel, Chris Cannan joined foreign ambassadors to  hear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the north of the country, close to the IDF units working to expose and neutralize the tunnels.

Photo: Chaim Zac

Netanyahu told the diplomats: “Today you can appreciate the effectiveness, the murderous effectiveness of this instrument of terror tunnels, which I want to zoom into in a minute. What we’re facing is one big enemy. That enemy is called Iran. Iran is trying to act on two levels. One, to develop a nuclear arsenal. We’re dealing with that with other means, including exposing Iran, as we did their secret nuclear archives and their secret nuclear warehouse inside Iran, Tehran, and other means.

The second thing that Iran is doing is developing conventional weapons against us and have declared war to annihilate Israel. They say so openly, every day. As part of that conventional effort they have two basic things that they do. One is they try to entrench themselves in Syria. We’ve been effectively fighting that, and I have to say that as a result of our efforts there’s been a reduction of dozens of percents, dozens, that means at least 24% in the Iranian forces in Syria, and as a result of American sanctions there’s also been a similar reduction in the budgets that go there.

We’ve been acting against them in Syria, as you know. Against them, against the Iranian-backed militias, and no less important against their attempts to bring sophisticated weapons and systems for precision guidance into Lebanon, either precision guided missiles or the systems to convert statistical missiles into precision guided missiles. We’re acting against it. So that’s the first thing.

Hezbollah breaks down into two main arms. One, missiles, two, tunnels. On the missiles, the statistical missiles we have our means of dealing but what they’re trying to do is develop precision guided weapons and we’re acting against that in the various efforts that we’ve blocked the transfer of these systems, not hermetically. Nasrallah planned to have by now thousands of precision guided missiles, in fact he has a few dozen, and that’s a result of the action that we do including the revelations that I revealed at the UN about their sites for conversion. Converting statistical missiles into precision guided missiles and basically knock them out. They’re knocked out.

The other effort that they’ve been doing secretly is building terror tunnels into our territory. These terror tunnels are different from the ones of Hamas. They’re similar but different. As you know, Hamas has been trying to do that. We have knocked out close to twenty and we’re going to systematically eliminate that weapon there. I believe they have afforded you the opportunity, I think that many of you have already used it to visit one such tunnel, and I’m very glad to see that today the UN General Assembly is going to, I hope, for the first time, condemn Hamas for doing this.

Hezbollah is also doing this, but with a twist. What Hezbollah wants to do is to have broader tunnels. If you look at the Hamas tunnels, they’re very narrow, basically for one person. The Hamas tunnels are broad. They enable several people to come at one and also to put motorcycles, I’m pretty sure tractors and so on. In order to bring in many forces, simultaneously, which means several battalions into our territory, with the purpose of cutting off communities here, towns, kibbutzim, and then going into a campaign of murder and kidnapping, which could happen simultaneously.

This is obviously a very powerful instrument in their war plan against Israel which they openly say, we want to destroy. We have found this now for several years and developed the technological and engineering capability to locate these tunnels and to neutralize them. We decided to act now, before this capacity, our capacity to identify and neutralize them matured, and it matured before their capacity, that would mature and they would have the option to do what I just described.

I want to spend time on the diplomatic and international repercussions of this. We asked for an urgent convening of the Security Council. The Secretary General told me that it would happen either at the end of this week or some time at the beginning of next week. We think that Hezbollah should be condemned forcefully and universally on this act of aggression. And again, this is a regime… This is an organization that openly says that their goal is to annihilate the State of Israel. They don’t hide it any more than he Iranians do, because of course they’re part and parcel of the same effort and the same ideology.

We think that there should be heightened sanctions on Hezbollah. We discussed this with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and I think there will be efforts that will be presented to the international community. We think that Hezbollah should be designated in its entirety as a terror organization, which is what it is, and not make artificial splits between its supposed parts. Lebanon should be put on the list because they’re saying nothing about this. They’re allowing their territory to be used in an act of aggression against a neighboring state, and they allow their citizens to be used as pawns.

Essentially Hezbollah is putting Lebanon at risk, but Lebanon is saying nothing. They’re not even protesting. And they should, and they should be told that they would pay the consequences, that they’ll be held accountable for not even whispering a protest. They should be acting in every way possible to stop this. They’re not.

These are the elements of the actions that we think should be taken with a view in mind that behind all this is of course Iran. There’s no question about it. And Iran has essentially overtaken Lebanon through Hezbollah. It’s trying to do the same in Syria. We are resisting it but I think the international community should resist it and condemn these clear acts of aggression.

Please convey to your governments what you see here and I think the obvious need to condemn unequivocally this aggression by Hezbollah and Iran and Lebanon that has to be accountable ”

The following ambassadors were in attendance: Emanele Giaufret – European Union, Anatoly Vikrorov – Russia, David Quarrey – Great Britain, Helene Le Gal – France, Deborah A. Lyons – Canada, Martin Weiss – Austria, Christopher Keith Cannan – Australia, Gianluigi Benedetti – Italy, Tsegay Berhe Hadera – Ethiopia, Paulo Vasconcellos – Brazil, Benko Levente Csongor – Hungary, Vhanga Patrice Koffi – Ivory Coast, Pablo Macedo – Mexico, Peter Hulenyi – Slovakia and Marek Grzegorz Magierowski – Poland.

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