President Shimon Peres
President Shimon PeresIsrael news photo: Flash 90

President Shimon Peres addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, saying “the Middle East has room for every person, every nation, every religion... there is enough room for friendship in the Middle East.”

Representatives from Iran and Lebanon walked out as he took the podium, giving the lie to his words.

Mentioning the Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations, Peres said, “We are now negotiating... in order to realize the two-state solution: A Jewish state – Israel, and an Arab state – Palestine. There is no other peaceful alternative, and I believe that we shall succeed.”

Israel is willing to begin negotiations with Syria as well, he added. Israel-Syria talks could start “right away,” he declared.

Peres touted science as key to creating a better future. “Today, science, creativity and knowledge have replaced land as the source of wealth... Science is global, borderless. Armies can't conquer it,” he said.

He noted Israeli innovations and the high number of scientists in Israel, adding that, “Our path is available to everyone. Our experience is replicable.” Israel is willing to share its knowledge even with countries which currently have refused diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, he said.

Peres criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinjad, who spoke Sunday, after his speech. He told reporters that Ahmadinejad “calls for our destruction, and supplies arms to every terrorist organization in the Middle East.”

Peres was snubbed by Muslim leaders on Sunday as well, when Turkish President Abdallah Gul cancelled a planned meeting with the Israeli president, ostensibly due to a busy schedule. Peres told journalists that Gul had cancelled the meeting after Peres refused to apologize for an incident in which IDF soldiers opened fire on Turkish pro-terror activists as the latter attacked them with knives and crowbars and killed nine. The skirmish took place aboard the Mavi Marmara, a ship in the flotilla that aimed to break the Israeli naval blockade on Hamas in May of this year..

If relations between Israel and Turkey have changed for the worse, it was Turkey's decision, Peres said.