From Ynet News, 8/12/05 ...
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who recently called for Israel to be 'wiped off map,' expresses doubt that Holocaust occurs, says Europeans should give Zionists some of their provinces in Europe; PM's spokesman: Just to remind Mr. Ahmadinejad, we've been here long before his ancestors
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday expressed doubt that the Holocaust occurred and suggested Israel be moved to Europe.
His comments, reported by the official IRNA news agency from a news conference he gave in the Saudia Arabian city of Mecca, follow his call in October for Israel to be "wiped off the map," which sparked widespread international condemnation.
"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. "Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem?"
"If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe - like in Germany, Austria or other countries - to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it," he added.....
Israel and the international community were quick to criticize the Iranian president's controversial remarks.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Ahmadinejad’s comments reflect a clear denial of the Holocaust and clearly defy international law recognizing Israel’s right to exist....
...Shalom added that under the leadership of Ahmadinejad Iran will seek all means to destroy the State of Israel.
...Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said in Tel Aviv Ahmadinejad was voicing "the consensus that exists in many circles in the Arab world that the Jewish people ... do not have the right to establish a Jewish, democratic state in their ancestral homeland"....."Just to remind Mr. Ahmadinejad, we've been here long before his ancestors," Gissin said. ".... Thank God we have the capability to deter and to prevent such a statement from becoming a reality."
...U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said in response to Ahmadinejad's comments, "These latest remarks ... are clearly appalling and reprehensible. They certainly don't inspire hope among any of us in the international community that the government of Iran is prepared to engage as a responsible member of that community."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: "It just further underscores our concerns about the regime in Iran and it's all the more reason why it's so important that the regime not have the ability to develop nuclear weapons."
At a news conference with French President Jacques Chirac near Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "With our historical responsibility in mind, I can only say that we reject them (Ahmadinejad's comments) in the harshest possible terms.
"We will do everything to make it clear that Israel's right to existence is in no way endangered. I am firmly convinced that a majority in the international community has a similar opinion on this issue," she said. Chirac said he agreed completely.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said "I condemn them unreservedly. They have no place in civilized political debate." ...
Roee Nahmias, Reuters contributed to the report