Israeli President Shimon Peres harshly criticized U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their Wednesday meeting in New York.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of Mr. Ban’s personal behavior during last month’s Durban II conference and the U.N.’s recent report criticizing Israeli conduct in Gaza four months ago.

Addressing the Durban II conference, Mr. Peres told Mr. Ban he should have taken his entourage to visit Auschwitz instead of sitting by idly as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech devoted to the denial of the Holocaust.

Unlike the European representatives, the U.N. secretary-general listened attentively to the entire speech and did not leave the hall.

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“I am ashamed,” Mr. Peres said.

Mr. Ban, in response, tried to tone down Mr. Peres’ harsh statements and said, in his defense, Mr. Ahmadinejad had misled him.

The secretary-general said he had sat with Mr. Ahmadinejad and drafted a moderate statement with him for an hour prior to his speech at the Geneva, Switzerland-based conference.

However, Mr. Ahmadinejad went up to the stage and ignored their agreement, delivering a speech denying the Holocaust instead.

Mr. Ban said his position as secretary-general prevented him from leaving the hall, but Mr. Peres rejected his explanation.

Mr. Peres said he felt a great shame that the U.N. had chosen Holocaust Memorial Day, the worst day in the Jewish consciousness, to give a platform to such a despicable man.

After their discussion about the Durban II conference, the meeting continued to be tense because of the U.N. report on the Israeli operation in Gaza, among other reasons.

Mr. Ban said he had attempted to tone down the report and had softened many problematic parts and extracted clauses that deviated from the report’s original purpose.

The Israeli president gave Mr. Ban a sharp rhetorical question, inquiring if the U.N. expected Israel to sit idly by, since more than 4,000 rockets were fired on Israel in the past three years.

He lambasted the report’s ignorance of Hamas’ activities, such as planting bombs in kindergartens, buildings and even U.N. facilities.

The secretary-general responded by saying the U.N. would not begin another inquiry into Operation Cast Lead, as the Gaza incursion is referred to by Israel, without the Jewish state’s consent.

Mr. Peres admitted Israel made some mistakes in the course if the operation and said Israel did not intend to deliberately kill civilians; however, he also said the Arabs who fire from Gaza do.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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