Livni: Iran poses greatest threat to world's values
FM appeals to General Assembly to halt Iran nuclear program, says Palestinians should be free, self-ruling.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that Iranian leaders pose the biggest threat to international values as they "speak proudly" of their wish to destroy Israel and pursue weapons to achieve that objective.
Speaking at the annual General Assembly session, Livni said that the international community must stand up against Iran, which she claimed is pursuing the weapons to destroy Israel, a reference to its nuclear program.
"There is no greater challenge to our values than that posed by the leaders of Iran," Livni said. "They deny and mock the Holocaust. They speak proudly and openly of their desire to wipe Israel off the map. And now, by their actions, they pursue the weapons to achieve this objective, to imperil the region and to threaten the world."
She said that Iran's support of Hezbollah militants in south Lebanon showed the threat it poses to the region. The world must now ensure that it enforces the UN Security Council resolution that ended more than a month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Livni said.
Livni struck a more conciliatory tone toward the Palestinians, saying that the two did not necessarily have to remain at odds and that the only way to resolve their conflict was at the "bilateral negotiating table."
Quoting former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Livni will told the General Assembly that Israel respects the Palestinians and has no desire to rule over them.
"Israel believes in the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," Livni said.
"Last year a distinguished man stood here, Ariel Sharon, who said 'the Palestinians will always be our neighbors. We respect them and we have no ambitions to rule over them. They are deserving of freedom and to establish their own sovereign state.'"
"These words were not the voice and vision of one person," Livni told the General Assembly, "but the voice and vision of a nation."
She added: "in practice, the realization of this shared dream which ties together Israel, moderate Palestinians and the international community, serves the goals and objectives of two nations and serves as a basis for a true and sustainable peace," she will say."
20,000 rally for release of abducted IDF soldiersMore than 20,000 people, including Jewish and Christian groups, took part in a demonstration of solidarity for Israel near UN headquarters in Manhattan on Wednesday.
According to Jewish leaders, the rally, to show support for an immediate release of Israel's kidnapped soldiers, was one of the biggest since the 1970s-era mass demonstrations for the Jews of the Soviet Union.
The scene of the rally, on 47th Street between Second and Third Avenues, was a sea of people, many of whom held signs with pictures of the soldiers. According to the organizers, some 150 buses brought the demonstrators, some of whom had traveled from as far away as California and Nebraska, to the event.
Many participants were members of Christian organizations from across the United States that support Israel.
Livni, who spoke at the rally, told participants that Israel did not need legitimization from anyone, and called for the immediate release of the soldiers.
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, also called for the release of the prisoners, and added a demand that Syria and Iran stop supporting terror.