Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad interviewed in Der Spiegel

Conducted by Der Spiegel in Tehran and translated and re-published in Salon.

He ducks and weaves, dodges questions he doesn't like and tries very hard to appear reasonable and relaxed with the German reporters when he'd clearly seems like he'd enjoy getting them in a dark cell with some pliers and getting medieval on their asses.

He seems to have decided that the Holocaust was a myth cooked up to justify stealing Palestinian land. And if it did happen than it was Europeans fault and Europeans should supply Jews with a homeland in Europe. His unwillingness to accept that Israel is a fact and uprooting millions of Jews is simply not going to happen is a sign of a mystical, even millenarian mind-set. The whole waiting for the Twelth Iman, Muslim apocalypse idea is very compatible with the way he talks here.

The Iranians actually have a lot in common with Americans right now: A liberal secular population, an unpopular extremist government, and a leader with apocalyptic religious beliefs and a contempt for the 'reality based' community willing to flout international human rights norms.

One particularly interesting section:

Spiegel: The Palestinians have long gone a step further than you and recognize Israel as a fact, while you still wish to erase it from the map. The Palestinians are ready to accept a two-state solution, while you deny Israel its right to existence.

Ahmadinejad: You're wrong. You saw that the Palestinian people elected Hamas in free elections. We argue that neither you nor we should claim to speak for the Palestinian people. The Palestinians themselves should say what they want. In Europe it is customary to call a referendum on any issue. We should also give the Palestinians the opportunity to express their opinion.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has suggested, or more accurately threatened, the same thing but Hamas desperately wants to avoid it, as current polls suggest something like 80% of Palestinians would vote for a two-state solution implicitly recognizing Israel's right to exist.

The success of moderate forces among the Palestinians of course, would be seen as a worst case scenario to Iran's Mullahs, but also to an Israeli government who see an opportunity to commit a massive land grab under the pretext of having no one to negotiate with. Speaking of the occupied territories to Congress Israeli Prime Minister Olmert said:

"I believed, and to this day still believe, in our people's eternal and historic right to this entire land."

The more radical and violent the Palestinians can be painted, the better Israel's chance of keeping almost all of it and imposing unconnected, non-viable bantustans, with no travel or water rights on the millions of Palestinians crammed into them.

And a nice high wall to hide their suffering.

1 comment:

calgal said...

Where anyone, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, happens to stand on Israel's right to exist, is a moot point. Israel exists, and no amount of wishing one way or the other is going to change that.

What does has to change is the current status quo. And it has to change fast, before the genocide being inflicted on the Palestinians claims any more lives.

Olmert and his ilk are right when they say there is no one to negotiate peace with - because Israel has no intention of ever being an honest partner to the Palestinian government, no matter who they are.

The only way to indicate to Israel that the rest of the world seriously wants them to enter into honest and sincere talks with Palestine, is to actively start divesting from Israel. Nothing beat the almighty buck as an attention grabber.

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