(photo credit: REUTERS)
The participation of 120 countries in a conference in Iran right now shows just
how hollow the world’s post-Holocaust pledge of “Never Again” really is, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a senior German politician on
Seventy years ago, Netanyahu told Prime Minister David
McAllister of the German state of Lower Saxony, “six million of my people were
exterminated in an act of genocide. The world pledged ‘never again’; it passed
treaties against genocide; it formed the United Nations; it made a commitment
that this thing will never be repeated. Today, over 120 countries are in Tehran,
saluting a regime that not only denies the Holocaust but pledges to annihilate
the Jewish state.”
Many in the international community appear to have
learned nothing, Netanyahu said. “I think this is a disgrace and a stain on
humanity.” He added that he was pleased that Germany was among the countries
that “refuses to take part in this charade.”
Tehran on Wednesday for the Non-Aligned Movement summit were UN
Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
This is Abbas’s first visit to Iran since he was elected president
of the PA in 2005. President Mohamed Morsy will also attend, marking the first
visit by an Egyptian leader to Iran since the Islamic Revolution there in
Abbas is accompanied by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, Foreign
Minister Riad Malki and Majed Faraj, head of the PA’s General Intelligence
Relations between the PA and Iran have been very tense over the
past few years due to Tehran’s support of Hamas.
It was not clear on
Wednesday whether Abbas would meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
during his visit. Sources in the PA president’s office said they did not expect
the visit to lead to an improvement in relations between the PA and
“Iran has long been opposed to the policies of the Palestinian
Authority,” the sources told The Jerusalem Post. “They consider President Abbas
a traitor because he believes in the twostate solution and has renounced
Nevertheless, Israeli government officials slammed Abbas for
making the trip. Traveling to Iran raises questions among the Israeli public
about Abbas’s “true commitment to peace and reconciliation,” one official
“This raises questions about whether the Palestinian leadership has
indeed crossed the Rubicon, and has really – in a sincere way – accepted the
legitimacy of Israel.”
Netanyahu told McAllister that “it is not
understood how dangerous the situation is with Iran.”
politician – born in West Berlin to a Scottish father and a German mother – is
close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The prime minister said there
was a real danger that the Iranians might use nuclear weapons, and that this was
a danger not only to Israel, but also to Europe and the United States. He also
bewailed the lethargy among European elites in this matter.
“It would be
absurd, if it was not so tragic,” he said.
In Tehran, Ban’s spokesman
Martin Nesirky said the UN head met Ahmadinejad and Iranian Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and urged them to take concrete steps to prove the
country’s nuclear program is peaceful.
“On the nuclear
question...[Ban] said that he regretted that little tangible progress
has been achieved so far,” Nesirky said.
“He said that Iran needed to
take concrete steps to address the concerns of the International Atomic Energy
Agency and prove to the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful
Ban, said Nesirky, also told the Iranian leaders that he
considered their latest verbal attacks on Israel to be offensive, inflammatory
Earlier this month Ahmadinejad said there was no place
for Israel in a future Middle East, and Khamenei said Israel would one day be
returned to the Palestinians and would cease to exist.
Bethlehembased Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported that several Palestinian
officials tried to persuade Abbas to cancel his trip to Iran, but to no
PA officials accused Iran last week of seeking to divide the
Palestinians by inviting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to attend the
The officials called on Haniyeh to cancel his visit out of
concern that his participation in the conference would be interpreted as a sign
that the Palestinians have two separate entities – one in the West Bank and the
other in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas also threatened to boycott the NAM
conference if Haniyeh or any other Hamas representative took
Haniyeh later announced that he had apologized to the Iranians for
being unable to accept their invitation to attend the conference, paving the way
for Abbas to travel there.
Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said the
PA president would use the conference to meet with the heads of several other
Abbas will brief the foreign dignitaries on the situation in
the Palestinian territories and seek their backing for the establishment of an
independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, he
added.Reuters contributed to this report.