|Israel has no right to demand explanation about Argentina-Iran bombing probe: Argentine FM||
TEHRAN – Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman has said that Israel has no right to demand explanation about Argentina’s sovereign decisions, including its agreement with Iran to investigate the bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Timerman made the remarks during a meeting with Israeli Ambassador Dorit Shavit, after Israel tried to get explanation about the Argentina-Iran agreement to create a “truth commission” to investigate the bombing, which was signed around two weeks ago, sources said, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.
The attack, which was blamed on Iran and Hezbollah, was the deadliest on Argentine soil, coming just two years after a bomb flattened the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people.
When Israel learned of the agreement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Argentine ambassador for a reprimand, during which the ministry’s deputy director general for Latin America, Itzhak Shoham, objected to the deal and demanded explanations.
The Argentines were furious, and in response, Timerman summoned Shavit for a reprimand on January 31.
According to Foreign Ministry sources who saw Shavit’s account of the meeting, Timerman was “upset and really angry” that Israel had demanded explanations of the Argentine ambassador. He apparently launched into a long monologue in which he assailed Israel for intervening in Argentina’s internal affairs and even charged that such behavior encourages anti-Semitism. Shavit was barely able to utter a word in response, as he cut her off repeatedly, according to sources.
“Israel has no right to demand explanations; we’re a sovereign state,” Timerman reportedly told her. “Israel doesn’t speak in the name of the Jewish people and doesn’t represent it. Jews who wanted or want to live in Israel moved there, and they are its citizens; those who live in Argentina are Argentine citizens. The attack was against Argentina, and Israel’s desire to be involved in the issue only gives ammunition to anti-Semites who accuse Jews of dual loyalty.”
Summoning the Argentine ambassador and then leaking the fact to the media was unacceptable behavior, he apparently continued. “Argentina doesn’t summon the Israeli ambassador for explanations. If we wanted to, we could summon you here twice a month to demand explanations about a military operation in Gaza or construction in the settlements. But we don’t do that, because we don’t want to intervene in your sovereign decisions.”
Shavit responded angrily, according to sources. She reportedly told Timerman that “Israel views itself as responsible to some degree for the welfare of (all) Jews and tracks anti-Semitism worldwide.”
Shavit reportedly stressed that Israel wasn’t trying to intervene in Argentina’s decisions, but it did want explanations, due to the similarity between the AMIA bombing and an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier.
“I don’t know if there’s any connection between the two attacks,” he apparently said. “If Israel has any such information, I ask that you give it to us as a soon as possible.”
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