The Second Lebanon War was a confrontation between Israel and Iran, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman said Sunday morning during an international conference on counter-terrorism in Herzliya.
Addressing the annual conference organized by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center, Gillerman described Hizbullah as being "nothing more than the bloody tentacle of Iran," and added that the military confrontation between Israel and Hizbullah formed the "first all-out war between a secular democracy and a fundamentalist regime - this was a war between Israel and Iran."
Describing Iran's President Ahmadinejad as "that crazy lunatic raving president who denies the Holocaust while everyday preparing the next one," Gillerman called on the international community to confront the Islamic Republic.
"The world came to the realization that this was just a preview, and this is what is waiting (for the world), unless they get together and fight the evil threat of Iran," Gillerman declared. He added that during the weeks of fighting last summer, several ambassadors of states hostile to Israel "came to me, put their arm around me, and said: Finish the job, don't stop."
Describing Iran as an "imperial state," Gillerman said the threat of Shiite fanaticism was being "deeply felt in Riyadh, Morocco, the Gulf states... Islamabad and Jakarta."
"Great parts of the so-called moderate Muslim world realized that the real threat came from Iran...The threat of the export of Shiite extremism and Iranian imperialism," rather than Israel, Gillerman said.
Iran also formed a focus for Dr. Boaz Ganor, Executive Director of the IDC, who said that the Islamic Republic is the clearest example today of a state which "uses its own military apparatus" for terrorist activities. "That is a terrorist state," Ganor said, adding that Tehran was also a "terrorist initiating state" due to its attempt to activate Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Ganor called for a clear definition of terrorism, which he outlined as "the deliberate use of violence against civilians in order to achieve a political end. This could be a religious goal, an extreme ideology... from my point of view, the essence of the goal is much less important that the tactic." Ganor drew a dividing line between terrorism and guerrilla warfare, which he defined as attacks against armed troops. Palestinian combatants who targeted soldiers should be placed in prisoner of war camps until peace is established, or a prisoner exchange deal is reached, while terrorists should "rot in jail" until their full sentence is served, Ganor proposed.
Professor Irwin Cotler, who formally served as Canada's justice minister, told the conference he saw an "escalation of the globalization of jihadism," and underlined the threat posed by "Iranian fanaticism," which aimed for Israel's destruction as an "apocalyptic precursor to the 12th Imam, Mahdi."
"Iran is genocidal in its goal," Cotler said. He expressed dismay that the international community was not acting to place President Ahmadinejad on trial at the international criminal court, and lamented the lack of support around the world for international arrest warrants put out by Argentina for Iranian officials, suspected of being involved in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people.
A grim forecast was presented to the conference by Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz (Likud), a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, who said that "in the next few years, we shall encounter a new type of terrorism, non-conventional, against the US, Europe and Israel."
Steinitz added that the most likely attack would be "chemical," adding that "it is amazing that it didn't happen yet."
"This is going to be much more destructive than what we saw up until now. Several terrorist organizations are trying to gain this capacity," he added.
On a brighter note, Steinitz said that American military action in Afghanistan has prevented al-Qaeda from attaining mass recruitment of young Muslims, adding that "al-Qaeda has no base on the face of the earth."