After boycotting a slated speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN, Israel embarks on a mission to convince other delegates to follow suit.
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday said Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu would not be present during Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations’ General Assembly scheduled for Wednesday.
Branding Iran’s second most important official as “one of the most evil and horrible people of modern history,” Peres predicted that Ahmadinejad would have no future in Iran’s political landscape.
Tel Aviv’s latest attacks on Ahmadinejad came after the Iranian president repeated his Holocaust comments, calling the killing of European Jews during World War II “a myth”.
“If the Holocaust, as you claim, is true, why don’t you allow a probe into the issue?,” he said.
Angered by the comments, Tel Aviv is trying to convince delegates to the UN General Assembly to stay away from the chamber when Ahmadinejad addresses the gathering.
“The simple fact of leaving the room during his speech, or not to be present during it, is a symbolic act,” Israel’s UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev said on Tuesday.
Shalev told the army radio that the countries that Israel is “talking” to are simply reminded of the dangers associated with “this person and the country that he leads”.
The Israeli official’s comments indicted that the Americans have been convinced to stay away from the speech.
“We know that the Americans are aware of the dangers. They will be represented by low-level officials and their ambassador and her deputy will be absent,” Shalev said.
Israel — the sole possessor of a nuclear warhead in the Middle East — accuses Iran of conducting efforts to develop a nuclear bomb, maintaining that a “nuclear Iran” is the prime existential threat to its security.
Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons and has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction from across the globe.
Many believe that Tel Aviv’s enmity is rooted in a military doctrine that says Israel must maintain absolute military superiority in the region.
“The maintenance of Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over any combination of its potential adversaries has been a cornerstone of US Middle East policy for more than a decade,” Shawn L. Twing, editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs says.
Journalist Adriel Hampton believes Israel’s military advantage is “a cost-effective way of serving America’s national-security interests in this critically important region.”