In a forceful condemnation of terrorism, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday referenced the tragic 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group during the Security Council meeting on Palestine. He also emphasized that acts of terrorism are universally unlawful and unjustifiable, regardless of where they occur.
He stated, "Terrorist acts are unlawful and unjustifiable whether they target people in Nairobi or Bali, in Luxor, Istanbul, or Mumbai, in New York or Kibbutz Be’eri."
“They’re unlawful and unjustifiable whether they are carried out by IS, by Boko Haram, by al-Shabaab, by Lashkar-e Taiba, or by Hamas. This Council has a responsibility to denounce member states that arm, that fund, and train Hamas or any other terrorist group that carries out such horrific acts," he added.
Blinken firmly rejected any attempts to downplay the acts of terrorism committed by Hamas, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 people in Israel and the kidnapping of over 200 individuals on October 7. He reinforced the international consensus that all acts of terrorism are both unlawful and unjustifiable.
Highlighting the heinous nature of the Hamas attacks, including the execution of children in front of their parents, the beheading of young people, and the burning of families, Blinken posed crucial questions: "We have to ask – indeed, it must be asked – where is the outrage? Where is the revulsion? Where is the rejection? Where is the explicit condemnation of these horrors?"
"We must affirm the right of any nation to defend itself and to prevent such horror from repeating itself. No member of this council – no nation in this entire body – could or would tolerate the slaughter of its people," he said.
Pakistan's Permanent Representative, Munir Akram, swiftly responded to the mention of 26/11, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Hamas, alluding to certain members of the Security Council providing protection to their allies who oppress occupied people in Palestine and Kashmir.
Blinken, while defending Israel's right to protect itself in the face of brutal attacks by Hamas, also urged Israel to take all necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians. In the case of Hamas, he emphasized the importance of refraining from using civilians as human shields.
Addressing concerns about potential double standards in the Western world's approach to Palestinian and Israeli lives, Blinken stressed that there should be no hierarchy when it comes to safeguarding civilian lives. He declared, "A civilian is a civilian is a civilian, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, age, gender, or faith." He expressed condolences for the loss of innocent lives, both Israeli and Palestinian, across various demographics, including at least 35 United Nations staff members.