Israel’s security services are poised to thwart any attempt to harm Israel’s diplomats abroad, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday amid Iranian threats that it will avenge the attack last week on the T4 airbase near Homs, Syria, that has been attributed to Israel.
Netanyahu was speaking at the Foreign Ministry’s annual memorial ceremony for 16 employees killed in terrorist attacks, 14 of them murdered abroad.
14 killed in alleged Israeli airstrike on Syrian airbase, April 10, 2018 (Reuters)
“The forces of darkness and terror thought that by striking at our representatives they would hurt our international standing. The exact opposite happened,” Netanyahu said.
“At the same time, the members of our security branches – the Shabak and the Mossad – are standing guard to thwart additional attempts to harm us, and we take every warning seriously in order to protect the safety and security of our representatives wherever they are,” he said.
Iran and its proxy Hezbollah were behind the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 28 people, including three Israeli diplomats, and the 1994 bombing in the Argentinian capital of the AMIA building that killed 85 people.
The first attack on an Israeli embassy that led to fatalities was in Asuncion, Paraguay, in 1970, when a secretary – Edna Peer – was killed. The last fatality was in 2003, when former ambassador to Britain Shlomo Argov died of injuries from the attack 21 years earlier when three Abu Nidal terrorists shot him in the head in London.
Foreign Ministry employees have also been killed in Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt and South Africa.
Netanyahu noted that the practice of granting immunity to diplomats goes back to ancient Greece, and was reaffirmed at the 1815 Congress of Vienna.
“But barbaric fanaticism does not take into account accepted rules of behavior honored for generations,” he said. Netanyahu cited the Iranian takeover of the US embassy in 1979 as a watershed moment that set the tone for the future of “terror, terror and more terror.”
“Terrorism crosses boundaries,” Netanyahu said, and today – as was the case then [in 1979] – it is under Iranian auspices, and under the sponsorship of Islamic State. There is no continent or country safe from terrorism. What we have to do is stand against them together – to build a strong dam of the civilized world against the flood of radicalism. Terrorists smell weakness, but they equally recognize power. With force and firmness we will stop their aggression. “