Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi accused Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday of acting like a lunatic when it comes to Israel , and said the world needed to keep a close eye on him.
"I think we must pay the utmost attention to the lunacy of someone who says, perhaps for internal reasons, that Israel must be wiped off the map," Berlusconi said to a Jewish organization in Paris, where he was receiving an award. A 2005 statement by Ahmadinejad saying that Israel should be "wiped off the map" outraged the international community.
The Iranian leader has since made predictions that Israel would "disappear" and, visiting Rome earlier this year for a UN summit, said the country would vanish with or without the involvement of Tehran.
Last Friday Ahmadinejad reassured Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh that Iran would stand by the Palestinians "to the ultimate victory." In a telephone conversation between the two, Iran's leader expressed his hope for a victory celebration "after the disappearance of Zionists from Palestine and from the world."
Ahmadinejad added that "those who follow the ways of God and adopt the path of resistance will win."
"Today, the resistance in Palestine is a source of pride for all Muslims and freedom lovers in the world," Ahmadinejad said. "The Palestinian nation is fighting against the most despicable people on the face of this earth…the resistance, which is burning in the faith of the Palestinian nation, is shaking up the Zionist enemy."