PM: NAM summit in Tehran is a disgrace to humanity

Netanyahu says large presence at conference proves "never again" is a hollow pledge; Abbas arrives in Iran for summit.

Netanyahu R370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Netanyahu R370
(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 Wednesday.
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 Abbas.
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 1979.
Abbas is accompanied by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, Foreign Minister Riad Malki and Majed Faraj, head of the PA’s General Intelligence Service.
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.
“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 violence.”
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 said.
“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.”
The German 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 purposes.”
Ban, said Nesirky, also told the Iranian leaders that he considered their latest verbal attacks on Israel to be offensive, inflammatory and unacceptable.
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.
Meanwhile, the Bethlehembased Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported that several Palestinian officials tried to persuade Abbas to cancel his trip to Iran, but to no avail.
PA officials accused Iran last week of seeking to divide the Palestinians by inviting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to attend the Tehran parley.
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 part.
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 delegations.
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.