'Ayatollahs prove need for recognition of Jewish state'

Netanyahu defends Israel's right to security, demand for recognition as a Jewish state, following Iran supreme leader's strong anti-Israel rhetoric.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday responded to anti-Israel comments made by Iran's supreme leader, saying the Ayatollahs' declarations of "their intentions to annihilate Israel, give credence to the government's insistence on Israel's security needs and our demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state."
Netanyahu added that "Israel will continue to strive for peace while ensuring that conditions are in place to promise a secure future to Israeli citizens for generations to come."
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Earlier on Saturday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the Palestinians' UN statehood bid, saying any deal that accepted the existence of Israel would leave a "cancerous tumor" forever threatening the security of the Middle East.
As leader of a country under a long-standing threat of military action from Israel and the United States, Khamenei warned the Jewish state and its allies to expect "paralyzing blows" that a NATO missile shield could not prevent.
"Any plan that seeks to divide Palestine is totally rejected," Khamenei told a conference commemorating the Palestinian Intifada.
The conference, first held in 1991 after the First Intifada, "focuses on the restoration of Palestinians' rights, including their rights to return to their homeland and determine their own fate, and on the liberation of Palestinian territories occupied by Israel," according to Iranian news outlet PressTV.
"The two-state scheme, which has been clad in the self-righteousness of the acceptance of the Palestinian government and membership at the United Nations, is nothing but a capitulation to the demands of the Zionists or the recognition of the Zionist regime on Palestinian land," he declared.
The US has vowed to veto the Palestinian request for full UN membership, now being discussed by a UN Security Council panel , if it goes to a vote.
Khamenei's speech underlined Iran's support for groups that oppose Israel, including Hamas,which rules the Gaza Strip and which rejected the UN bid presented by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as "begging" for statehood.
The 72-year-old cleric also sought to portray Iran as the greatest defender of the Palestinian cause, criticizing other countries in the region that have close ties to Washington. Two of these, Egypt and Jordan, have recognized Israel.
"Governments that host Zionist embassies or economic bureaus cannot advocate support for Palestine," he said in comments aimed, among others, at post-Mubarak Egypt with which Tehran is seeking to restore the diplomatic ties cut since 1979.