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September 25, 2013 11:46 am

Israel’s Lapid Criticizes Rouhani Boycott, as Netanyahu Voices Skepticism Over Iran’s Intentions

avatar by Zach Pontz

Yair Lapid in 2010. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Yair Lapid criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to have the Jewish state’s United Nations delegation boycott Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Israel should not seem as if it is serially opposed to negotiations and as a country that is uninterested in peaceful solutions,” the Israeli finance minister said on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

“Leaving the U.N. General Assembly and boycotting is irrelevant in current diplomacy, and is reminiscent of the way Arab countries have acted toward Israel.”

Since taking office in August, Rouhani has voiced interest in finding a diplomatic solution to his country’s nuclear stand-off with the West. Netanyahu has repeatedly warned Western leaders not to fall prey to Rouhani’s charm offensive and is expected to repeat the message during his General Assembly speech October 1st.

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An Israeli government official told the Associated Press that Netanyahu sees the West’s gleeful embrace of Rouhani as being similar to its excitement following the Arab Spring.

“At the beginning of the Arab Spring, Netanyahu said it could go in a good or a bad direction, and people accused him of being a dinosaur, accused him of ignoring the new hope. Of course those detractors now agree that his assessments are connected to reality,” the Iraeli official was reported as saying.

“He is not afraid to stand up to conventional wisdom when convinced that his assessment is correct,” the official said about Netanyahu’s stance on the Iranian leader. “He sees this as a moral obligation.”

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