Leader's Speech at Intl. Conference in Support of Intifada

The following is the text of a speech delivered by Grand Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, at the inaugural ceremony of the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, held in Tehran on April 24, 2001.
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

All praise is due to Allah, Who conferred a favor on us by guiding us through Islam and Who ordered jihad, which is one of the gates of Heaven and which Allah opens only to His special friends. "Glory be to Him Who made His servant go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the Al-Aqsa Mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is Hearing, Seeing." And peace and greetings be upon His prophet, the messenger of glad tidings and the warner, Mohammad, and upon his immaculate and impeccable household. And greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

Venerable speakers and deputies of the parliaments of Islamic countries,

The leaders and representatives of resistance and Mujahid groups and the combatants at the frontline of Islamic defense,

Dear guests,

First, I would like to welcome you all to this conference and pray to Almighty Allah to bestow on us His mercy and guidance.

The holding of this conference has been an auspicious move and, God willing, it will prove effective in mobilizing Islamic nations to support the uprising of the Muslim Palestinian people. Such gatherings show that the issue of Palestine is the issue of the whole Islamic world. In fact, the occupation of Palestine has been part of the evil plots of the world domineering powers, Britain in the past and the United States at present, to weaken and foment division in the Islamic world.

The enemies of Islam have always tried to undermine unity among Muslims by fomenting division and ethnic and sectarian conflicts in order to prepare the ground for their domination of Islamic countries. A short while after the occupation of Palestine, some valorous ulema like Sheikh Ezzeddin Ghassam and Haji Amin al-Husseini urged Muslims to join in a campaign to liberate Palestine, and the grand Islamic cleric late Mohammad Hussein Al Kashef al-Gheta' issued the edict for jihad against the Zionists. But unfortunately the Islamic nature of the Palestinian resistance and struggle was gradually weakened and its ethnic nature was given more emphasis and prominence.

The victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran under the leadership of Imam Khomeini, a sagacious man and a descendant of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), played a pivotal role in Islamic renaissance and awakening of Muslim nations throughout the world, especially in the regional countries.

The victory of Muslims in their struggle against enemies of Islam in southern Lebanon, which seemed to be an unequal confrontation, once again showed the justness of Islamic resistance and highlighted the fact that if Muslims trust the promise of the Almighty and struggle for the sake of Allah, their victory will be certain.

Undoubtedly, the remarkable victory of the Islamic resistance in southern Lebanon as well as the disgraceful failure of the compromise plans have made the Muslims more vigilant than before and prompted the Palestinians to launch another Intifada against the occupiers of their homeland. However, this time the brave, perseverant and devoted Palestinians will not be influenced by the words of compromise in Palestine or in the region, as they are determined to continue their struggle until final victory.

The fact is that the first Intifada came to a halt because of the empty promises of the Zionists and their supporters, especially the United States, as well as the influence of some uncommitted figures, who promised the Palestinians that they could restore their rights and attain their goals through peaceful means. But the lapse of some 10 years since then has clearly shown that all the efforts made by the supporters of the Zionist regime have only been aimed at easing the great pressure exerted on the occupier regime of Israel by the struggle of Palestinians, and that what has been promised to the Palestinian negotiators would never be realized.

The occupation, expansionism and savagery that are being practiced by Israel today were quite predictable by the Muslim intellectuals a long time ago. Ever since the formation of this usurper and illegitimate regime, the Zionists have continued to trample on the rights of Palestinians. But some Western countries like the United States have always justified and supported these Israeli violations, and the international organizations have kept silent in the face of Israel's atrocities and its violation of Palestinian rights and tried to legitimize the aggression and violations committed by this occupier regime.

The land of Palestine and Bait-ul-Moqaddas have always been coveted by certain Western powers. The imposition of long crusades on the Muslims in the past was a clear sign of this covetous attitude toward this holy land. Some military commanders of the Allies, upon entering Bait-ul-Moqaddas after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, said, "Today, the crusades have come to an end!"

The occupation of Palestine was based on a complicated and multifaceted plan that was aimed at undermining the unity and solidarity of Muslims and preventing the reestablishment of powerful Islamic states. There is evidence proving that the Zionists had close ties with the German Nazis, and the exaggerated statistics that were released on the number of Jewish victims during World War II were aimed at drawing public sympathy and preparing the ground for the occupation of Palestine and justifying the Zionist crimes.

There are also some documents indicating that a number of non-Jewish hooligans and ruffians from Eastern Europe who were introduced as Jews were moved to Palestine on the pretext of aiding the relatives of the victims of racism in order to establish an anti-Islamic regime in the heart of Islamic world and create a division between the eastern and western parts of Islamic world after some 14 centuries of its integrity.

At first, the Muslims were taken by surprise, as they were not aware of the real intentions and plots of the Zionists and their Western supporters. The Ottoman Empire was defeated, and the Sykes-Pico agreement on the division of Islamic lands in the Middle East was secretly signed by the victors of the war.

The League of Nations placed Palestine under the British mandate. The British officials, for their part, promised the Zionists to collaborate with them. Through certain schemes, they moved the Jews to Palestine and displaced the Muslims by forcing them to leave their homes.

In the long confrontation between the Zionists and their Western supporters on one side and the newly established Arab states on the other side, the enemies of Islam applied different and sophisticated means against Muslims, including propaganda-disseminating media, and also used their influence over international organizations to achieve their goals.

Furthermore, while the Western countries called on Muslims to show patience and self-restraint and engage in peace negotiations with Israel, they continued to arm the Zionist regime.

In fact, their main strategic objective has been to keep the military supremacy of Israel over Islamic countries. They have fully supported the Zionist regime in the international forums and justified the Zionist atrocities against Palestinians through their biased propaganda aired by their means of mass communication. They have also tried to make Muslims believe that their victory over Israel is something impossible.

Indeed, ever since the Zionist regime was recognized by the United Nations more than half a century ago until last year, the Zionists committed all kinds of crimes and atrocities against Palestinian people and nothing could stop them.

However, the Islamic resistance of Lebanon that comprises only a few thousand youths who are armed with the weapon of faith disturbed the calm of this regime and its supporters. These brave and faithful youths drove Israeli forces out of southern Lebanon in a humiliating manner without making any concessions to this regime.

The victory of these beloved youngsters became a beacon of guidance for other Muslim combatants. And today, we are witnessing the Intifada of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is similar to the Islamic resistance of Lebanon but on a wider scale.

You, our honorable guests, have gathered here today to support the Intifada, since you consider this an Islamic duty. But you should also realize that you shoulder heavy responsibilities.

First of all, you should show to the world that Muslim nations, thanks to their Islamic awakening, are determined to return to the lofty traditions of the glorious history of Islam. In fact these traditions, the most important one of them being Islamic unity, helped the Muslims in the past to achieve victory in their several battles against the aggressor crusaders. In those significant historical events, the mujahideen from all over the Islamic world took part in the fateful battles against the aggressors.

Today, all the Muslims throughout the world are pinning their hopes on the current fateful struggle of the Palestinian people against the occupiers of their homeland and are counting on it more than on the first Intifada of the Palestinians. This is because at the time of the first Intifada, which occurred some ten years ago, the atmosphere of compromise was prevalent in the region. Some regional politicians were under the influence of the United States, and some others believed that it was not possible to resist international political pressure, and that there was no option but to accept the terms of the compromise that were dictated by the Untied States and Israel. Following the developments that took place then in the region, this idea became even stronger.

However, the present conference in support of the Intifada is being held here at a time when the process of compromise in the region has reached deadlock. This fact has even been admitted by those who were and still are under the influence of the United States.

In 1991, following the war in the Persian Gulf, Arabs and Muslims were dispirited and their unity was seriously weakened due to certain divisions among them. However, under the present circumstances, especially in view of the great and historic victory of the Islamic resistance in southern Lebanon, Muslims have been infused with a new and revitalizing hope.

Before the victory of the Islamic resistance of Lebanon, the leaders of some Arab countries argued that they had to either confront Israel militarily or accept the compromise plan.

Concerning the first option, they noted that such military confrontation had failed in the past. And as far as the second option was concerned, it was clear that the peaceful compromise only served the interests of the Zionist regime.

In those days, there was no mention of a third option, namely resistance against occupation, as some politicians claimed that resistance had no public support.

But today there is a successful model before us, the one that led to the liberation of the occupied territories of southern Lebanon for the first time without making any concessions to Israel and foiled the Zionist regime in its efforts to hoist its flag in the Lebanese capital.

In Camp David, Israel had demanded that there should be no growth in the military capability of Arab countries in return for the withdrawal of its forces from part of the occupied territories. Furthermore, the Zionist regime had made the withdrawal of its forces conditional on Egypt not dispatching its soldiers to northern Sinai.

But fearing the power of the Islamic resistance in southern Lebanon, Israel begged the Lebanese government to dispatch its soldiers to the border between Lebanon and the occupied Palestine. The Islamic resistance successfully restored full sovereignty to southern Lebanon and other occupied regions.

The Intifada is an uprising by the people who have lost all their hopes in the compromise process and who have realized that they can restore their rights and achieve victory only through resistance and struggle.

In their first Intifada, the Palestinian people suffered heavy losses for the sake of Islam and the liberation of their Islamic homeland, as a large number of them were either martyred or disabled. Their uprising was ultimately brought to a halt by the Oslo Accords. But what was the outcome of the Oslo Accords?

Today, even the Palestinian designers and advocates of the Oslo Accords no longer speak in favor of these agreements, since they have come to the conclusion that Israel only intended to solve its own problems through these agreements.

The Zionist regime only aimed to protect itself against confrontation with the stone-throwing Palestinian combatants and to reduce its vulnerability through these agreements. In other words, the trivial things that Israeli officials gave to the Palestinians and called them "concessions" were only meant to suppress the Intifada and protect the Zionist regime.

Nevertheless, as soon as the Zionists wrongly assumed that their problems had been solved and that the Palestinian people were no longer able to resume their Intifada and engage in a new struggle against the occupiers, they repudiated the Oslo Accords and announced that the agreements were not valid any more.

This was a clear sign of the covetous and treacherous nature of the Israeli officials. Consequently, the Palestinian people, who had obtained nothing from the Oslo Accords and the compromise process, realized that they had no option but to launch a second Intifada in order to restore their rights.

The main pivot of the Al-Aqsa Intifada is Bait-ul-Moqaddas. In other words, the spark that provoked the anger of the Palestinian people was the Zionists' affront to the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Being well aware of the fact that they shouldered a heavy responsibility to safeguard the sanctity of one of the most sacred Islamic sites, the Palestinian people entered the arena of struggle against the Zionists and set the sacred torch of struggle against the occupiers of their homeland burning through devotion and by making great sacrifices.

The compromise process, in particular the Oslo Accords, caused division among Palestinians. However, this holy Intifada restored national unity to Palestine.

Today, Palestinians from all ranks are engaged in the Intifada against the Zionists, and all Palestinian Islamic and nationalist groups are taking part in this struggle side by side. Even those who are still pinning their hopes on certain outside powers have been prompted to join this great movement.

The "Islamic uprising" or, put another way, the "Islamic awakening movement" has emerged in the region and Islamic world for the past two decades with full strength following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran under the leadership of Imam Khomeini. Today, the main pivot of this movement is the issue of Palestine.

The Al-Aqsa Intifada even managed to draw support from Arab and Muslim nations beyond the geographical borders of Palestine and outside this region. Massive demonstrations by millions of Muslims throughout the Islamic world from its western to its eastern parts have sent the message to the Palestinians that they can count on the support of other Muslim nations. The fact is that the issue of Palestine has played a key role in consolidating unity among all Muslim nations.

The day when the Islamic resistance of Lebanon was forged by the brave Lebanese youths on the guidelines and with the support of Imam Khomeini, the Lebanese capital Beirut was under the Israeli occupation, and the political fate of Lebanon was greatly influenced by the Zionist regime. That day when members of the Islamic resistance chanted the slogan of "Let's March toward Bait-ul-Moqaddas", some narrow-minded individuals described them as naive, asking them sarcastically, "Can you march toward Bait-ul-Moqaddas while you are not able to enter you own capital?"

However, only 18 years after they chanted that slogan, the Islamic resistance achieved its historic victory over Israel and drove Israeli soldiers out of southern Lebanon in a humiliating manner. Surely, you will agree that the period of 18 years is not a long period in the history of the struggle of nations against foreign aggression and occupation.

Undoubtedly, this struggle involves regrettable losses, as people are being killed, their homes are being destroyed, and economic pressure as well as other afflictions that deeply affect our emotions are making life much more difficult for the Palestinians. But they will surely reap the benefits of their struggle and self-sacrifice. Victory is very valuable and, therefore, a high price should be paid for it.

Israel, which once bullied and intimidated the countries in the region and dictated all its demands to Arab nations, is now kneeling out of helplessness and distress in the face of the power of the Islamic resistance. This is the result of only a small part of the great capabilities of Arab and Muslim nations. Surely, if all or even part of the capabilities of Islamic world are utilized for this purpose, we will soon witness the downfall and annihilation of the Zionist regime.

The Zionist regime was defeated in southern Lebanon by the Islamic resistance that comprises only a few thousand combatants. It is true that the Hizbollah, which has deep roots in society, has been able to mobilize thousands or even tens of thousands of forces when this mobilization has been needed, but the Hizbollah has usually deployed only a few thousand or, at times, only a few hundred of its forces along the line of its confrontation with the Zionist occupiers.

In other words, Israel, with all its military capabilities and the sophisticated arms and weapons in its arsenal, which is linked to U.S. arsenal, was defeated by a few hundred zealous, devoted and faithful youths who were armed only with some light weapons. Of course the main weapon of these youngsters was their strong faith.

Therefore, this model of resistance and struggle is now before us. That is to say, it is possible to achieve victory through resistance and struggle and, of course, by undergoing losses and hardships.

There is also another option, namely pinning hopes on the compromise process and begging the Zionist enemy for peace. This option will only help Israel to humiliate the Palestinians and dictate its demands to them. This is what we have already witnessed.

The Palestinians have been greatly inspired by the historic victory of the Hizbollah and are now following the example set by the Lebanese combatants in their second Intifada against the Zionist occupiers of their homeland.

The Zionist regime by no means has the ability to engage in a continuous and long-term confrontation with the Palestinian people. The Zionists deceived the Jews who lived in different parts of the world into immigrating to Palestine, hoping that the Arab nations would not fight these Jews, and that if they decided to do so, they would be stopped by the Western countries.

But considering the present Intifada of the Palestinians, the Jews who have moved to Palestine are not willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the political objectives of the founders of Zionism. According to some reports, the Intifada has dealt a heavy blow to the Israeli tourism industry, and the number of Jews who are now leaving Palestine is greater than the number of those who are presently immigrating to the occupied territories.

The previous conference in support of the Palestinians that was held in Tehran proved very effective and constructive, as it provided a platform for those who are opposed to the compromise process and infused hope and high spirits into the Palestinian people. In particular, the stances taken by the Islamic Republic on the issue of Palestine and its resistance and perseverance, which is unique among the Islamic governments, also further raised the morale of the heroic Palestinians.

Even today the people of Palestine need moral and political support of Muslim nations more than anything else. It is true that they also need financial assistance, and that proper measures should be taken to fulfill this need, but they themselves have said in different interviews that what they mainly need is a strong Arab-Islamic stance on the issue.

Your conference should take positives steps in this direction and assure the Palestinians of the unsparing and full support of Muslim nations. You, the deputies of the parliaments of Islamic countries, should also make every effort to mobilize the capabilities of your nations for the liberation of Palestine.

Defending the oppressed Palestinian nation and supporting their brave uprising is the Islamic duty of all of us. Today, Palestinians, with their faces stained with blood, are urging other Muslim nations to help them. I will never forget the cry of a Palestinian woman who was shouting in front of the camera of a reporter, "Oh Muslims! Come and help us!"

All Muslim and Arab nations should support the legitimacy of the struggle of Palestinians and stress this point at the international organizations that an oppressed nation whose rights have been violated and whose land has been occupied has the right to engage in a struggle in order to restore its rights.

Therefore, the continuation of the Intifada and resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinians, and this legitimate right to resistance is also respected by international law. But unfortunately the law is usually interpreted in such a way as to serve the interests and fulfill the demands of the arrogant and domineering world powers.

Dear parliamentarians!

You can rest assured that the occupier regime of Israel has decayed and degenerated, and that the present generation is by no means willing to make sacrifices to protect it.

Fortunately, today the Arab and Muslim nations are stronger than any other time in the past half a century, as they have become more powerful in different areas, for which we should be grateful to Almighty Allah.

Muslims can no longer witness the daily persecution of innocent Palestinians and remain silent. Israel should be made to understand that the continuation of its persecution of the Palestinian people and its attacks on their residential areas would draw serious reactions and strong measures from all the Arab and Muslim nations.

Palestinians should be given more support and encouragement in their resistance against the Zionist aggressors. The Palestinian people know very well that what has reined in the aggression of Israel in Lebanon is the power of the Islamic resistance and its ability to respond to the Zionist aggression and deal heavy blows to it, not the mediation and diplomatic efforts of so-and-so.

Unity among different Palestinian groups is crucial for their resistance against Israel. Whatever undermines this unity and diverts the attention from the Zionist enemy will surely not serve the cause of Palestine.

Thank God, during the past fifty years, different Palestinian groups have passed this trial successfully and displayed their vigilance and political maturity. As we have already seen, the malicious attempts made by Israel at fomenting discord among Palestinian resistance groups have all ended in failure.

This is because despite their certain differences of opinion, these Palestinians groups have decided to form a united front against the Zionist enemy. Thus, thanks to their revolutionary tolerance, they have managed to foil Israel in its dastardly plots.

It has now become clear that those assuming that the issue of Palestine is the issue of only part of the Islamic world have been quite mistaken. The fact is that the nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction that have been stockpiled in the Zionist regime's arsenal are not meant to be used against the Palestinians, but that Israel has stockpiled these weapons in order to dominate the Islamic world, especially the Middle East region.

This evil intention of the Zionist regime and its Western supporters is evident from the fact that while Hizbollah forces were engaged in military operations to liberate the occupied territories, Israel staged attacks on the Syrian soldiers on the pretext of taking revenge for these operations!

The general strategy to struggle against this usurper regime should include the following points:

1 - The isolation and containment of the Zionist regime within the limits of the occupied territories and the exertion of political and economic pressure on Israel through the severance of all ties with this regime.

2 - The continuation of the resistance and struggle of Palestinians and providing them with whatever assistance they need until they achieve their final victory.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The main reason for the immense pressure that is being exerted by the global arrogance led by the United States on the Islamic Republic is our support of the Palestinian nation. The U.S. officials have said in explicit remarks that the main problem of the United States with Iran is the opposition of the Islamic Republic to the so-called peace process, which is actually the process of forcing the Palestinians to forgo their rights and accept a humiliating compromise with the occupiers of their homeland.

The ridiculous accusations such as human rights violations or seeking weapons of mass destruction are only empty claims aimed at exerting pressure on the Islamic Republic, and if Iran stops its support of the Lebanese and Palestinian people, the United States will also change its hostile attitude toward the Islamic Republic.

We consider supporting the Palestinian and Lebanese people one of our major Islamic duties. This is why Washington is applying every pressure lever against the Islamic Republic in order to stop this support.

The main U.S. strategy toward Iran is to create division in the united ranks of the revolutionary and devoted Iranian people. In order to foment discord, they are calling some group "reformists" and some other group "conservatives". While claiming to support the first group, they are disseminating negative propaganda against the other group.

Furthermore, by aggrandizing some problems, they are trying to portray the Islamic system as inefficient in order to make the Iranian people disappointed with the system. They are also propagating the idea of the separation of religion from the state, but the U.S. plots have always been foiled by the strong faith of our nation.

Therefore, through their negative propaganda, U.S. officials seek to dishearten the Iranian people, especially our youngsters, and portray the Islamic system as inefficient by exaggerating our economic problems, despite the fact that economic problems are common in almost all countries in the world.

The United States has also launched a smear campaign against the Islamic Revolution and Imam Khomeini, since Washington has received heavy blows from Islam and our revolution.

U.S. officials are concerned about the Islamic awakening of Muslim umma and are deeply worried by the expansion of struggle and resistance in Lebanon and Palestine. Thus, they are making every effort to subvert the Islamic thought and ideology by spreading poisonous propaganda against this divine religion.

As the struggle against the Zionist occupiers in Lebanon and Palestine is becoming more extensive, the Zionist regime and the United States are becoming more confused, and they are hatching more plots and increasing their negative propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

Nevertheless, the Zionists and U.S. officials should know that despite all their poisonous propaganda, the officials of the Islamic Republic as well as the devoted Iranian people are all unanimous in defending their Islamic and revolutionary ideals. Furthermore, supporting the Intifada of Palestinians and their resistance against Zionist occupiers is one of the cornerstones of our foreign policy.

We are sure that through the continuation of the struggle of Palestinians and the support extended by Muslim nations, Palestine will be liberated and Bait-ul-Moqaddas and the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be returned to the Islamic world.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings