Leader's Inaugural Address in Meeting with Participants of Gaza Conference

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on February 27, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the participants of the Gaza Conference.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to welcome all you dear guests and our honorable brothers and sisters and I beseechingly ask Allah the Exalted to help us succeed in continuing this path and this very great task. Also, I thank the dear brothers who held this conference in Tehran and I hope that by Allah's favor, this gathering organized by you friends will be a step forward.

First of all, I deem it necessary to sincerely thank the people of Palestine and Gaza. What you mentioned about the achievements of resistance and the strength of Palestinian positions in recent years would not have happened if it had not been for this great resistance of the people of Palestine. The people of Palestine and Gaza have really and truly immortalized their name in history as the most resistant people.

What has happened to the people of Palestine in recent years - during which we witnessed the formation of Intifadas and true resistance - is an astonishing phenomenon. This has no meaning other than the guidance and assistance of God. We see all these disasters in Gaza, all these bitter events and all these pressures whether in the 22-day war or afterwards until today. We see that different disasters have befallen the people of Palestine one after the other. Nonetheless, the people have stood as firmly as a mountain. This is a very great reality and it cannot be ignored.

The main issue that I would like to discuss is that you should strengthen this resistance and this morale of the people as much as you can. As you correctly said, the only way to solve the issue of Palestine is resistance and fighting. This is correct, but this resistance and fighting is dependent on preserving the people's morale and hope and their presence on the scene. In my opinion, this is the greatest task that Palestinian groups, organizations and activists should carry out.

The purpose of the pressures that are exerted on Gaza by both sides - whether by Zionists or by westerners - is to make the people turn away from resistance. The purpose of the pressures which are exerted on the West Bank - on the issue of Jewish settlements, on the issue of Quds, which was referred to by one of the friends in this meeting, on the issue of shocking and drastic measures, on the issue of the Israeli West Bank barrier and other such issues - is to make the people turn away from resistance and to submit. We should not allow this to happen. You should not allow this to happen. You should keep the people of Palestine and Gaza - these resistant and strong people - hopeful so that they know their great movement will produce results. This is one point which, in my opinion, is very important.

Another point is that the undeniable progress we witness on the issue of Palestine means the increasing power of the camp of resistance against the camp of arrogance and kufr. This is a clear and evident issue. What is witnessed on this issue results from having faith in God, relying on him and adding the element of spirituality to battle.

If a battle is not accompanied by the element of faith, it will become vulnerable. A battle will lead to success only when it contains faith in God and reliance on Him. You should strengthen in people the spirit of religion, true faith in divine promises and reliance on Allah the Exalted. You should strengthen in people trust in Allah the Exalted and His promises.

We ourselves should have trust in Allah the Exalted as well. Allah the Exalted is the most honest speaker. He says to us, "Surely Allah will help him who helps His cause" [The Holy Quran, 22: 40]. He also says to us, "Whoever is on God's side, then God will be on his side as well" [Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 79, page 197]. He says to us that we should not be afraid of the enemy: "Feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan" [The Holy Quran, 4: 76]. He says this to us. Allah the Exalted is truthful. If we carry out our responsibility on this path, move forward for the sake of God, fight for Him and set ourselves the goal of gaining the divine satisfaction, then victory will undoubtedly be achieved.

I would tell you that the victory of the people of Palestine in restoring their rights will not be more difficult than the victory of the people of Iran in establishing the Islamic Republic in Iran. At that time - the time when taghut used to rule over our country - if someone took a look at the scene of the world and the region, he would see that changing the taghuti regime was one of the impossibilities, let alone turn it into an Islamic government.

This seemed to be one of the impossibilities. Under normal circumstances, such a thing was not possible and achievable. At that time, America had endless power in the region and it provided unconditional support for the Shah's regime. Besides, political activists in Iran did not have any resources. That is to say, the resources that we had for fighting in those days were much less than the resources that your people in Gaza or on the west bank have today. Despite this, the Revolution was carried out. This impossibility became possible and it happened thanks to the continuation of fighting, reliance on God and the determined, strong and decisive leadership of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.).

I say that this event can take place for Palestine as well. Some people look at the scene and see the power of America, the support of the west for the Zionists and the power of Zionists' financial and propaganda networks in America and in other parts of the world. As a result of this, they think that restoring Palestine to the Palestinians is an impossible task. But I say that this impossible task will become possible provided that they show resistance and steadfastness.

Allah the Exalted says, "Now then, for that reason, call them to faith, and stand steadfast as you are commanded" [The Holy Quran, 42: 15]. Resistance is necessary, steadfastness is necessary, continuing the path is necessary. The requirements for continuing the path are your gatherings, your cooperation, your global promotions and the statements that you gentlemen made, all of which are true. All these suggestions are necessary and correct. They are necessary.

They have poisoned public opinion throughout the world. Today, America and the west are lying in a blatant day on the issue of Palestine and many other issues. They are lying in a blatant way. They completely misinterpret a great disaster such as the disaster of Gaza in the 22-day war. I would like to remind you that we should pay attention to this issue. Today, Gaza and Palestine are an arena of disgrace for the west. The west with is claim to support human rights has ignored the greatest and the most disastrous violation of human rights in Gaza.

Last year, westerners did not say a single word in favor and in defense of the people of Gaza for many days. Many days passed while we were listening carefully to see if any word in favor of the people of Gaza is uttered by the Europeans - let alone the Americans - by human rights organizations and by so-called defenders of freedom. But no word was uttered. They began to talk after the people in different countries raised their voices and held different processions and demonstrations and when the scandal heated up. However, it was just talking. The west did not show any support for the people of Gaza against such a great disaster which was taking place in front of everyone's eyes. And the west has continued to adopt the same positions until today.

The United Nations disgraced itself. America was disgraced and it became even more disgraced. They did not show any support even after the Goldstone Report was released and everyone became aware of it. Today, the savage and criminal leaders of the Zionist regime should be put to trial and punished, but nothing is being done in this regard. No measure is being adopted. On the contrary, support for the usurping and fake Zionist regime is increasing even more than this. These things have brought shame on the west.

With its new government and president, America claimed that it wants to change things. The slogan of change was chanted in order to decrease, to some extent, America's ignominy and notoriety in this Islamic region, but they could not do this and they should know that they will not be able to do it until the end. This is because they lie to people in a blatant way. They lie on many issues. We, who are in the Islamic Republic, are constantly witnessing and hearing their lies. It is 30 years now that their distorting and reversing truths is in front of our eyes and we have gotten used to it. But the world will judge. History will judge.

I would tell you that today, the western civilization has been challenged on the issue of Palestine. Today, the claim of western liberal democracy has been questioned. This means that you in Palestine have brought down and dismissed this western claim which had survived for several centuries and with which the west used to rule over the entire world. Resistance - the one that you are showing - has such significance and greatness.

The issue of Gaza is not the issue of a small piece of land. The issue of Palestine is not only a geographical issue. It is the issue of humanity and human principles. Today, the issue of Palestine is a dividing line between commitment and hostility to human principles. This issue has such significance.

Without a doubt, America will suffer a loss in this deal. These historical eras and these ten, twenty, thirty-year historical developments are like a moment and they will soon pass. But the history and future of America will definitely suffer a loss as a result of the movement that they launched in the past 50, 60 years with regards to the issue of Palestine. The issue of Palestine will be a source of disgrace for America for many years in the future.

Palestine will be liberated. You should have no doubt about this. Palestine will definitely be liberated. It will be restored to the people of Palestine and a Palestinian government will be formed in this country. There is no doubt about this, but America's disgrace and notoriety will not disappear. They will continue to be disgraced.

There is no doubt that a new Middle East will be formed based on the truths which Allah the Exalted has determined. This Middle East will be an Islamic Middle East, as the issue of Palestine is an Islamic issue. All peoples are responsible towards Palestine. All governments are responsible towards Palestine, whether Muslim or non-Muslim governments. Any government which claims to advocate humanity is responsible towards this issue.

However, Muslims' responsibility in this regard is a heavier one. Islamic governments are responsible and they should carry out their responsibility on this issue. Any government which does not carry out its responsibility on the issue of Palestine will suffer a loss. This is because nations have awakened and they want governments to do such things. Therefore, governments have to give in to this issue and they have to surrender.

For us people in the Islamic Republic, the issue of Palestine is neither a tactical issue nor a political strategy. For us, the issue is the issue of belief, heart and faith. This is why there is no gap on this issue between us and our people. Our people - those who know what the issue of Palestine is and these people form the majority of the population - have the same motivation and diligence as we do on the issue of Palestine.

As you can see, the people in big and small cities and even in villages gather on Quds Day - in each year's last Friday of the month of Ramadan which our Imam (r.a.) specified as Quds Day - and show the same feelings that they show on other rallies such as the 22nd of Bahman rallies. They show the same presence that they do on the 22nd of Bahman which is a reminder and the anniversary of the victory of our Revolution and which is an issue related to domestic events. On Quds Day, the people in all the cities of the country - whether big or small - and in all villages take to the streets no matter if the weather is hot or cold and they show their presence and motivation.

You should know that if we officials of the country had not stopped the people, many of our youth would have shown their presence in the arena of Palestine. On the issue of Gaza, our youth went to the airport and they did not return despite all the measures that officials adopted. They returned only with my message. If I had not issued a message, they would not have returned. They said, "Take us to Gaza". They believed that they could reach Gaza. This is the motivation of our youth.

The issue of Gaza and Palestine is our issue. It is our Islamic issue. It is the issue of all Muslims and it is our responsibility. What we are doing is our responsibility and we do not ask anyone to thank us for this. We have carried out our responsibility and we ask Allah the Exalted to help us continue carrying out our responsibilities.

You friends, who are present in this meeting, should stick to the statements that the gentlemen in this meeting made. One of these statements is that the essence is fighting and that there is no other way other than resistance for Palestine. You should announce this in an outspoken way. You should not allow political demagoguery and political manipulations to dominate the region.

Any Palestinian who stepped away from resistance suffered a loss. Israel is not honest in its request for peace. Even if it were honest, it would not have any right in Palestine and therefore, its request would be illegitimate. But Israel is not honest in its request for peace. Those people who took the path of negotiations were forced to accept the enemy's impositions. If they had turned away from the path of the enemy's impositions even for one moment, they would have been either eliminated or humiliated. You have witnessed both cases. They eliminated some and they humiliated and disowned the rest.

The path of Quds, the path of Palestine and the path of resolving the issue of Palestine is the path of fighting. As was pointed out by the gentlemen in this meeting, there is no other path for Palestine. I am happy to see that all of you agree with and believe in this issue. Those people who do not accept this path - whether knowingly or unknowingly - are delivering a blow to the issue of Palestine. If they are doing this knowingly, then this is called treachery. If they are doing it unknowingly, then this is called ignorance and negligence. In any case, it is a blow to the issue of Palestine. Such people are delivering a blow to the issue of Palestine.

Palestine has no way other than resistance. The people of Palestine should say and want this and Islamic governments should echo it. Of course, many Arab governments dismally failed their test on the issue of Gaza and other issues before that. They failed dismally. Whenever there was a talk about the issue of Palestine, they said, "The issue of Palestine is the issue of Arabs". But when it was time for action, the issue of Palestine was completely removed from their equations.

Instead of helping Palestine and the Palestinians, instead of helping their Arab brothers and instead of being committed to their Arabic principles - even if they do not believe in Islam - all of them left the arena. They failed dismally in this test and these things will be recorded in history. The negative consequences of this action are not particular to the afterlife. Rather, they will witness the consequences in this world as well, as God's assistance to you who are fighting is not particular to the afterlife.

In the same ayah that was recited in this meeting and that was repeated by Mr. Khalid Mashal, divine angels say, "We are your guardians in this world's life and in the hereafter" [The Holy Quran, 41: 31]. So, this assistance is not particular to the afterlife. In this world too, divine angels and spiritual and divine forces offer their assistance to "Those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah' and further stand straight and steadfast" [The Holy Quran, 41: 30]. These divine forces help such people.

Now, we are witnessing their assistance in this world with our own eyes. We are seeing and witnessing this with our own eyes. God's angels helped us in our eight-year Defense as well. We witnessed their assistance with our own eyes. Of course, a person who is drowned in the world of materialism does not believe in such assistance. Well, they are free to disbelieve this, but we witnessed such assistance. Today too, God's angels are helping us. Today too, we have managed to stand firm with this divine assistance.

Our military power is not comparable with America's. Our economic power, our financial and promotional resources and the scope of our political activities are not comparable with those of America. However, we are stronger than America despite the fact that it is richer and more equipped than us. It has more promotional, financial and political resources, but it is weaker than us. We are stronger than America. The reason why we are stronger is that it retreats step by step in all the arenas which we and the Americans have confronted each other. But we do not retreat. Rather, we move forward.

This is a sign of our superiority over the Americans. This has been achieved in the shade of Islam, divine assistance and the assistance of God's angels. We believe in these things, we have complete confidence in them and we are witnessing them with our own eyes. By Allah's favor, many of you will witness the day when holy Quds will be restored to Muslims despite all the genuine and true concerns which were pointed out about Quds in this meeting. It does not matter whether we see that day or not. In any case, the people of Palestine and people throughout the world will witness this one day.

I would like to thank you again and I am happy that I met you in this meeting. There are many things that you and us want to say. Our statements are not over, but it is noon and time for prayers. So, we should go. I hope that by Allah's favor, all of you will be successful.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings