Former Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman brings tough message

Melvyn Gordon, Dan Gillerman, Irit Barash and Marco Van Embden.

The war in Gaza had sent out some very clear messages, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman told community members at a luncheon organised by the United Jewish Campaign at the Albow Centre.

The first — “Don’t mess with us” — was received “very loud and clear”, he said, adding, “We’ll hit you so hard, you’ll think twice about ever doing it again.”

A message that was heard “very clearly” in Iran was that “in any conflict between extremists and moderates, we’ll side with the moderates and strengthen them”. Gillerman maintained that the Arab world now realised that Israel was their ally; that the real threat was Iran’s “imperialistic designs” on them and that they should be much more pragmatic about solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He pronounced himself optimistic about the chance of peace precisely because of what he termed the “dark clouds” of Iran-backed terror and an ailing Israeli economy, mentioning the new United States administration which was “very keen” and the new Israeli government, “ …which I’m sure will want to make it happen. All we need is the missing link of the Arab world — I believe it will happen”.

A nuclear Iran was not just Israel’s problem but a threat to civilisation as we know it, he said, adding that making this an issue for the international community was the right policy.

“I hope (United States president) Barack Obama realises he has very little time to engage with Iran,” he said, remarking that the “diplomatic clock” ticked much more slowly than the “technological clock”.

“We have until the end of the year and no longer,” he warned, adding that he doubted diplomacy would be effective.

Referring to his six-year tenure at the UN, Gillerman said that he had enjoyed every minute of what was regarded by many as the toughest job in the world.


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