Israel's U.N. Ambassador on Prospects for Mideast Peace

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This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 7, 2006, that was edited for clarity.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whatever happens in the U.N., we must not create a vacuum, into which Hezbollah and its sponsors are able to move more weapons.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, President Bush speaking from the Western White House earlier today on this very subject.

Joining me now is the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman.

Mr. Ambassador, good to have you back.


CAVUTO: We were kind of chatting about this during the break, but how do you deal, Ambassador, with this notion that the prevailing view throughout much of the world — not necessarily in the United States, much of the world — that Israel is targeting civilians?

GILLERMAN: It's very frustrating. And there's a lot of double standards and a lot of hypocrisy out there, because the world must understand that there is no moral equivalence between the two sides. On the one hand, we have terrorists who specifically target Israeli women and children.

And, on the other hand, you have a democratic state which does what any democracy will do, and that is defend its women and children, while fighting an enemy who hides between women and children, and uses them as human shields.

That's why it's so frustrating when, whenever there are casualties in Lebanon, we hear this outcry from the secretary-general, through the world. Whenever there are Israeli civilians killed, we don't hear these voices. And, to me, this is frustrating, and it is representative of the great hypocrisy and the tremendous double standards which this world is displaying.

CAVUTO: Have you raised this with Kofi Annan?

GILLERMAN: I have actually sent a message to Kofi Annan, after a deadly day a few days ago, when 15 Israelis were killed, asking, maybe in quite a cynical way, how many Israelis have to die before we hear his voice?

After yesterday, which was one of the deadliest days, we still haven't heard that voice.

CAVUTO: Yes. Ambassador, while you're speaking here, we're getting a report on AP that the Israeli army says that a curfew is going to be in southern Lebanon forbidding traffic up through 10:00 p.m. tonight, our time. What does that mean?


CAVUTO: What is coming?

GILLERMAN: Well, I'm — I don't know what is coming.

But what we're being very careful, again, having spoken about it just a minute ago, is not to hurt civilians. We have — in many of the places where civilians have been hurt, we have dropped leaflets. We have asked them to leave. And maybe now a curfew is the only way to make sure that there's no people out.

CAVUTO: But, when you drop the leaflets, Ambassador, Hezbollah is reading the same leaflets, right?


CAVUTO: So, they can go, too, you know?

GILLERMAN: Yes, that's true.

But Hezbollah claims that they are fighters, and that they will stay there and fight. And, if they do, we will deal with them. But we want to deal with them. We don't want any civilians around.

CAVUTO: How do you view — we were touching on this, sir — so, your definition, I guess, would be crucial.

If you have a father who has children and a wife, and he enters into a deal with Hezbollah to say, "All right, I will hide your rockets in my basement," is he, and, by extension, his family, enemy combatants?

GILLERMAN: Well, definitely.

I mean, if you subject your family to a reality where you designate a room in your home to house a rocket, if you go to sleep with a rocket or with a missile, don't be surprised if you don't wake up in the morning.

And that is the harsh reality we're facing. Hezbollah has taken Lebanon hostage. It has subjected the Lebanese people to its cruel and cynical tactics. It is making whole families play host to a missile. It is making whole neighborhoods their headquarters.

And that is why, in a very cynical way, I — I am saying something which may sound really horrific. But I wouldn't be surprised if they want these civilian casualties, in order to create this uproar around the world, and they're using them in the most cynical way for their aims and for their horrible objectives.

CAVUTO: While I have you here, Ambassador, this Lebanese plan to bring soldiers along the Israeli border, now, let's say that those soldiers are there; Hezbollah is still acting up. What do you do?

GILLERMAN: Well, I don't think this will ever happen.

I mean, the Lebanese government had the opportunity and chance to do it when it had the power...


CAVUTO: Well, they have called up 15,000 reserves.


CAVUTO: I don't know where they're getting them from.



CAVUTO: So, if — if they bring those men to the front, what do you do?

GILLERMAN: Quite frankly, I don't believe they will. I mean, they have had the chance...

CAVUTO: So, why are they doing this?

GILLERMAN: I think they're doing it for show. They're doing it to try and create some kind of a false reality and false pretense. But the Lebanese had the opportunity, for six years, since we left Lebanon, to deploy the forces in the south.

They didn't do it when they had, ostensibly, the power and the authority to do it.

They had again that opportunity when the Syrians left Lebanon. Instead, they let Hezbollah take them hostage. And they have relinquished their sovereignty to the Hezbollah. So, now, when the Hezbollah is actually there fighting, they will do it? Come on. I mean, this is pathetic. I really don't believe this...


GILLERMAN: ... is serious.

CAVUTO: Ambassador Dan Gillerman, always good seeing you. Be safe.

GILLERMAN: Thank you. It's great to see you.

CAVUTO: Thank you very much.

GILLERMAN: Thank you.

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