Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s views on Israel’s right to exist were made clear last week. For those who missed his foreign policy pronouncement he said that the Jewish state should be:
“wiped off the map”
This led to understandable concern from the international community. Nervous officials in Tehran realised their President had scored a diplomatic own goal after most of the rest of the world denounced his words so they attempted to backpeddle by arguing his speech should be understood as providing support for the Palestinians rather than anything more sinister.
Ahmadinejad might have saved a lot of bother by consulting some actually existing Palestinians before he presumed to speak on their behalf:
The remarks were harshly condemned…by the Palestinians themselves, with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat calling them “unacceptable” and noting that the Palestinians “have recognized the state of Israel”.
It is not clear how Erekat’s words were received in Tehran. Rumours that the slogan on Iran’s Shihab missiles has now been changed to “For a just peace and negotiated settlement “ from their previous “Israel must be eradicated from the annals of history” have yet to be verified.