Hundreds of delegates from around the world participated in the Fourth International Conference in Tehran (March 4–6, 2009) in Support of Palestine: the Model of Resistance, and Ghazzah: the Victim of War Crimes. The following is the address by the Rahbar, IMAM SEYYED ALI KHAMENEI on 6th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, 1430 AH.
In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
I welcome you, honoured guests — scholars, thinkers, statesmen, and combatants — who have come to the Islamic Republic of Iran to participate in the Fourth Conference in Support of Palestine.
Important and crucial developments have occurred since the last meeting held in Tehran during 15–17 Rabi‘ al-Awwal, 1427ah/April 14–16, 2006. These developments have brightened the future prospects of the issue of Palestine and made clearer our duties concerning this fundamental problem of the Islamic world.
Among these important developments were the amazing military and political defeats inflicted by the Islamic resistance in Lebanon on Israel during the 33-day war in 1427ah (2006) and the humiliating failure of the Zionist regime in the 22-day criminal war against the people of Ghazzah and the legal government of Palestine.
Now this usurper regime — which with its army and weapons backed by the US military and political support flaunted a fearsome and undefeatable facade during the last several decades — has twice been forced to suffer defeat by the forces of resistance fighting with trust in Allah (swt) and the people, rather than relying on arms and equipment.
Notwithstanding its military prowess, preparations, and far-reaching intelligence outfits, as well as the unsparing support of the United States and other Western governments, along with the collaboration of some hypocrites in the Muslim world, the Zionist regime has shown incompetence, and suffered steep downfall and dissolution before the powerful wave of Islamic awakening.
On the other hand, the crimes committed by the Zionist criminals during the historic events of Ghazzah — the genocide of civilians, the destruction of defenceless homes, the impaling of infants, the bombing of schools and mosques, the use of phosphorous bombs and other outlawed weapons, all these followed a nearly two-year blockade on supplies of food, medicine, fuel and other essentials of life for the people, and numerous other crimes — proved that the savage and criminal instincts of the leaders of the fake Zionist State have not changed in the least since the early decades of disaster in Palestine. Exactly the same policies and predatory and ruthless motives which created such tragedies as those of Deir Yasin, Sabra and Shatila still rule the dark minds and hearts of the contemporary tyrants. Of course, the magnitude of such atrocities and their disastrous consequences have been amplified by advances in technology.
By now those who advocated a “pragmatic” approach under the illusion of the invincibility of the Zionist regime, and who succumbed to surrender and compromise with the usurpers, should have realized their mistake, as well as those who entertained hopes of peaceful coexistence with the Zionists, wrongly believing the second and third generation of Zionist politicians to be free from the criminal impulses of the first.
Firstly, the false image of invincibility was shattered by the wave of Islamic awakening and maturing of the erstwhile sapling of Islamic resistance. The signs of the usurper regime’s weakness and despondency have become fully visible. Secondly, the aggressive character of the ringleaders of that regime and their unscrupulousness in committing atrocities remain unchanged since the early decades. They are not averse to committing any atrocity whatsoever and whenever they think they can do it.
Now 60 years have passed since the occupation of Palestine. During this period all material means of power have been at the service of the usurpers, including money, weapons and technology, as well as political and diplomatic initiatives and the giant empire of news media and networks. Yet despite these staggering and far-reaching satanic efforts, the usurpers and their supporters have not only failed to solve the problem of the Zionist regime’s illegitimacy, it has grown more complicated with time.
The intolerance shown by the Western and Zionist media and pro-Zionist governments toward even the mere posing of any question concerning the Holocaust — which served as an excuse for the usurpation of Palestine — and research on the topic, is one of the signs of this nervousness and uncertainty.
The image of the Zionist regime in world opinion today is much worse than it has ever been during its black history, and more serious questions are being raised concerning the rationale for its creation. The spontaneous and unprecedented world-wide protests against this regime and in support of the Islamic resistance in Ghazzah and Lebanon during the 33-day war, which extended from the Far East to Latin America, and demonstrations in 120 countries including Europe and Britain, the breeding ground of this evil tree, reveal the emergence of a world-wide resistance against Zionism that has never been so serious and extensive in the last 60 years. It may be said that the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and Palestine has succeeded in awakening the world’s conscience. This is a big lesson, for both the Muslim Ummah and its enemies. It is a lesson for the enemies, who tried to create a fake and counterfeit nation and state by resorting to force and repression, and to convert it in course of time into an undeniable reality, and to make such an unjust imposition something normal for the Islamic world.
It is also a lesson for the Muslim community, especially the proud youth and their alert conscience, so that they may know that any struggle waged for the restoration of usurped rights is never in vain, and that God’s promise is indeed true when He, the Most High, declares,
Those who are fought against are permitted [to fight] because they have been wronged, and Allah is indeed able to help them. Those who were expelled from their homes unjustly, only because they said, “Allah is our Lord.” Had not Allah repulsed the people from one another, ruin would have befallen the monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s name is mentioned greatly. Allah will surely help those who help Him. Indeed Allah is All-Strong, Almighty (22:39-40).
And when He, the Most High, says,
Indeed Allah does not break His promise (3:9).
Allah shall never break His promise (22:47).
[This is] a promise of Allah: Allah does not break His promise, but most people do not know (30:6).
So do not suppose that Allah will break His promise to His apostles. Indeed Allah is Al-mighty, Avenger (14:47).
And what promise can be more categorical than this promise of God,
Allah has promised those of you who have faith and do righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors in the earth, just as He made those who were before them successors, and He will surely establish for them their religion which He has approved for them, and that He will surely change their state to security after their fear, while they worship Me, not ascribing any partners to Me. And whoever is ungrateful after that — it is they who are the transgressors (24:55).
A big fallacy which has taken control of the minds of some persons concerning the question of Palestine is that a country named Israel is a 60-year old reality with which one has to reconcile. I do not know why these people do not learn from other realities that are in front of their eyes. Is it not a fact that the countries of the Balkans, Caucasus, and Southwest Asiareclaimed their identity after 80 years of loss, and after being parts of the former Soviet Union? Why cannot Palestine, which is part of the body of the Islamic world, reclaim its Islamic and Arab identity? Why cannot the Palestinian youths, who are among the most astute and resistant of Arab youth, overcome this unjust reality by their will and resolution?
Another big fallacy is to say that negotiation is the only means of deliverance for the Palestinian nation. With whom are these negotiations to be held? With a usurper, misguided and bullying regime which does not believe in anything except force? What have those who have been captivated with this game and delusion achieved?
Firstly, what they obtained from the Zionists in the form of the Palestinian Authority — its humiliating and disgraceful character aside — was at the enormous cost of having to recognize the ownership of the usurper regime over nearly the entire land of Palestine.
Secondly, even that partial and fake authority was at times trampled underfoot by the Zionists under empty excuses. The siege of Yasser Arafat in his administrative building in Ramallah and numerous forms of humiliation he was made to suffer are not events that can be forgotten.
Thirdly, during Arafat’s days and, especially after him, they have treated the officials of the autonomous Authority as police-station chiefs whose duty was to prosecute and arrest Palestinian combatants and to keep them under intelligence and police surveillance, thus spreading seeds of enmity among Palestinian groups and prompting them to wage war against one another.
Fourthly, even that minor achievement was the fruit of the struggle of Palestinian combatants and resistance of its proud men and indomitable women. Had the Intifada not occurred, the Zionists would not have given them even this little bit, despite the successive compromises made by the conventional Palestinian leaders.
Or shall it be negotiations with the United States and Britain, who are guilty of the biggest sin in creating and sustaining this cancerous tumor, and who moreover, are one of the parties to the dispute and not arbiters? The United States government has never ceased its unconditional support for the Zionist regime and its flagrant crimes, such as those committed during the recent events in Ghazzah.
Even the new American president, who came to office with the slogan of bringing change in the policies of the Bush Administration, avows unconditional commitment to Israel’s security, which means defending state terrorism, defending injustice and oppression, and defending a 22-day-long massacre of hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children. It is a policy which amounts to the same crooked ways of the Bush administration and nothing else.
Negotiations with bodies associated with the United Nations are another exercise in futility. The United Nations has perhaps confronted few tests such as the problem of Palestine, wherein it has been exposed and earned a bad name. It was a day when the Security Council promptly and officially recognized the occupation of Palestine by acquisitive terrorist groups and played a basic role in the birth and continuation of this historic injustice.
After that, for several decades, it maintained a satisfied sil-ence with regard to the cases of genocide, expulsion of refugees, war crimes and various atrocities committed by that regime. Even when the General Assembly voted branding Zion-ism as a racist ideology, the Security Coun-cil not only did not go along but also maintained practically a diametrically opposite stand. The oppressive world powers, which enjoy permanent membership in the Security Council, use this world body as an instrument. As a result, the Security Council not only does not help the cause of world security, but also rallies to the assistance of these powers whenever they deploy notions such as human rights, democracy and the like as pretexts to further their greed and domination, drawing a curtain of deception and lies over their illegitimate actions.
The deliverance of Palestine cannot be obtained through begging from the United Nations or the domineering powers, and more so from the usurper regime. The sole path of its deliverance is through resistance and fortitude, through the unity of purpose of the Palestinians and the word of God’s oneness (Tawhid), which is the inexhaustible resource for human struggle. The pillars of this resistance, on one side, are the combatant Palestinian groups and each and every one of the faithful and resistant Palestinians, those who are within that country as well as those who are abroad. From another side, the pillars are the world’s Muslim nations and governments, religious scholars, intellectuals, political figures and academicians. If these two pillars remain firmly in their place, there is no doubt that in every part of the world, awakened consciences, hearts and minds which have not been spoiled by the spells of the news media empire belonging to the global arrogance and Zionism, will rally to the assistance of the victims and those who have been denied their rights, forcing imperialism to confront a storm of thoughts, emotions and actions.
We have seen an example of this truth in recent days during the magnificent resistance of Ghazzah. The sobs in front of the news cameras of a Western chief of one of the international aid organizations, expressions of sympathy by activists belonging to humanitarian organizations, the large and impassioned public demonstrations in the heart of European capitals and American cities, the bold moves made by the heads of several states in Latin America — all these are signs that the non-Muslim world has not yet been fully subjugated by forces of evil and corruption (called “Satan” in the nomenclature of the Qur’an) and that the ground is still open for truth to manifest itself. Yes, the resistance and fortitude of the Palestinian combatants and people, together with all-roundsupport and assistance from all Islamic countries, will break the satanic spell of the usurpation of Palestine. The prodigious energies of the Islamic Ummah can solve the problems of the Islamic world, including the urgent and acute issue of Palestine.
Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world, my message now is addressed to you as well as to all persons with an alert conscience, irrespective of country and creed. Make an effort, and break the spell of impunity for the Zionist criminals. Bring to trial the political and military heads of the usurper regime who have had a role in bringing about the Ghazzah tragedy, and mete out to them the punishment laid down by reason and justice.
This is the first step to be taken. The political and military leaders of the usurper regime should be brought to trial. If criminals are punished, the room for criminal acts by those who possess the motives and madness to commit them will be restricted. Impunity for perpetrators of great crimes is itself a cause and incentive for further crimes. If after the 33-day Lebanon war, the Muslim world community had earnestly demanded the punishment of Zionists leaders responsible for the terrible atrocities committed during this war, had this legitimate demand been made following the massacres of wedding processions in Afghanistan, after the atrocities committed by Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq, and following the Abu Ghuraib scandal and other cases involving US soldiers, we would not have witnessed another Karbala in Ghazzah.
In these cases, we, Muslim states and nations, have not acted in accordance with our duty as dictated by the laws of justice and reason. Its consequence is what we are witnessing today. It is a matter of deep regret that some governments and world politicians are totally alien to moral values and judgments of human conscience. They are insensitive to the 22-day long genocide in Ghazzah in which 1350 people were killed and about 5500 civilians were wounded, many of them children. The murderers and criminals are not only not punished, but are even rewarded. The security of the bloodthirsty regime is considered sacred to be defended at all cost, and the victims, whether it is a government elected by a decisive popular vote or the people who have elected it to office, are accused and condemned. Such is the judgment of political tribunals totally divorced from ethics and alien to conscience and human virtues. Yet, when these governments encounter public opinion in the form of a deep hatred, instead of noting its obvious cause, they again resort to political maneuvers, thus continuing the vicious circle.
Dear brothers and sisters throughout the Islamic world! Let us learn from experience.
Our great community, with the boon of the Islamic awakening, possesses tremendous power. The key to the solution of many of the problems of the Muslim countries lies in the resoluteness and solidarity of this wonderful galaxy. The question of Palestine is the most urgent problem of the Islamic world.
At times some people are heard to say that Palestine is an Arab problem. What does that mean? If it means that there is a stronger feeling of consanguinity among the Arabs, who are willing to offer Palestine a greater service and do more struggle for its sake, that is something desirable and we welcome it. But if it means that the heads of some Arab countries should refuse to pay any heed to the cries of help of the Palestinian people which are addressed to all Muslims, if it means that they may collaborate with the ruthless usurper enemy in such an important case as the tragedy of Ghazzah while loudly condemning others who cannot remain indifferent to their call of duty to help Ghazzah — then no proud and conscientious Muslim or Arab will accept it, nor spare the speaker of disapproval and reproach. It is the same as the logic of Akhzam, who used to beat his father and chide others for interfering. After him, his son would assault the grandfather with his fists. The fable is the source of an Arabic proverb. (Which means: My sons have left me covered with blood; a custom that I know was laid down by Akhzam).
Offering a multi-faceted assistance to the people of Palestine and complete support is a joint duty of all Muslims. The governments which criticize the Islamic Republic of Iran and some other Muslim countries for assisting Palestine should come forward to bear the burden of such support so that others are relieved of this Islamic duty. But if they lack the ability and courage to do so, instead of criticism and causing hindrance, they should appreciate the dutiful and courageous steps taken by others.
Respected guests! You who are present at this conference are thinkers and specialists on the issue of Palestine. Today our historical duty is not to repeat the bland statements and torpid theories of the past, but to suggest approaches for liberating Palestine from the oppression of the Zionist regime.
Our proposal is a solution which is in total agreement with democracy and can form a common logical basis. That proposal is that all those who have a legitimate stake in the territory ofPalestine, including Muslims, Christians and Jews should choose their own system of government in a general referendum. All Palestinians who have borne for years the ordeals of exile should also participate in this referendum. The Western world should know that non-acceptance of this solution will imply an absence of commitment to democracy, which it always claims to support. The failure to pass this test will further expose its double standards. Palestine was also the focus of an earlier test, when the West didn’t want to accept the result of elections in the West bank and Ghazzah which brought the Hamas government into office. Those who accept democracy so long as it results in achieving their aims are war-mongering adventurers. If they talk about peace, it is nothing but lies and deception.
The reconstruction of Ghazzah is one of the most urgent problems of Palestine. The Hamas government — which was elected by a decisive majority of the Palestinians and whose epic resistance, which saddled the Zionist regime with defeat, is the brightest page in Palestinian history of the last hundred years — should be at the centre of all reconstruction efforts. It will be appropriate for the Egyptian brothers to open the way for aid to move in and allow Muslim countries and nations to carry out their duty in this regard.
In conclusion, I honour the memory of the martyrs of the 22-day war. With their blood they made the Palestinian Ghazzah a matter of pride for Islam and Arabs. I implore God’s mercy and forgiveness for them. In addition, I invoke His blessings on all the martyrs of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan and for all martyrs of Islam, as well as for the pure spirit of our magnificent leader, the late Imam Khomeini.
I beseech Allah, the Most High, to exalt the honour of Islam and Muslims, to bring Muslim nations closer to one another, and bring a daily increasing awakening to the Islamic world.
Wassalamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.