Gordon Brown to condemn Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
By Melissa Kite in Jerusalem
Last Updated: 8:16PM BST 20/07/2008
Gordon Brown will pledge "unbreakable" support to Israel while launching his strongest attack yet on Iran.
Gordon Brown lays a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum
The Prime Minister will send a tough message to the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday, warning of imminent sanctions on oil and gas if he does notabandon his nuclear ambitions.
In a landmark speech to the Israeli parliament, Mr Brown will say that Mr Ahmadinejad's denial of Israel's right to exist is "totally abhorrent".
The European Union has already said it stands ready to push for a block on foreign investment in new Iranian oil and gas projects along with sanctions on the financial sector if the Gulf state does not comply with requests to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.
British officials hinted that sanctions could extend to all parts of the oil industry in a bid to disrupt production by Iran, which exports some 2.5 million barrels a day.
In his speech to the Knesset, the first by a British Prime Minister, Mr Brown will voice determination to prevent an Iranian nuclear programme.
He will say that Iran now has a clear choice to make: "Suspend its nuclear programme and accept our offer of negotiations or face growing isolation and the collective response not of one nation but of many nations."
Mr Brown will tell Israel that it has Britain's unequivocal support: "Britain is your true friend. A friend in difficult times as well as in good times, a friend who will stand beside you whenever your peace, your stability and your existence are under threat; a friend who shares an unbreakable partnership based on shared values of liberty, democracy and justice.
"Britain and Israel continue to stand together. So to those who question Israel's right to exist and threaten the lives of its citizens through terror we say: the people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security.
"And to those who believe that threatening statements fall upon indifferent ears we say in one voice that it is totally abhorrent for the President of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world."
Mr Brown will describe his own personal affection for Israel revealing that his father, a Presbyterian minister, was on the church of Scotland's Israel committee and learned to speak Hebrew.
President Ahmadinejad's statements on Israel include claiming that they "created a myth in the holocaust" and that they are an occupying regime that must be "wiped off the face of the map".
The Prime Minister look visibly moved as he visited the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem on Sunday with his wife Sarah Brown.
Wearing a traditional Jewish skull cap Mr Brown laid a wreath at the spot where ashes from six concentration camps are buried in the Hall of Remembrance before writing an emotional message in the museum's visitor book.
He said: "Nothing prepares you for the story that is told here of the atrocities that should never have happened and the truth that everyone who loves humanity should know.
"We must always remember so that prejudice, discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism can be banished from our world." Mrs Brown wrote "we shall never forget".
The Prime Minister was then driven through Israeli checkpoints to visit Bethlehem, where he held talks with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and announced $60m of aid for Palestine over the next three years.
Mr Brown was also holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last night in a bid to add impetus to the peace process.
During a press conference in Bethlehem, he paid tribute to his predecessor Tony Blair, now a Middle East envoy to the Quartet group of nations, saying he had spoken to him before embarking on his three-day trip during which he also visited Iraq.
Mr Brown said the projects Mr Blair was working on were "coming to fruition" and should be given the "support they deserve".