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Palestine and the Muslim Conscience

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Ayatollah Sayyid Ali  KhameneiEDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from the speech delivered as the inaugural address by Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei at the Fourth International Conference for Support of Palestine, the Model of Resistance, and Ghaza, the Victim of War Crimes, held in Tehran on March 4.

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 Gaza.

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 silence 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 Zionism as a racist ideology, the Security Council 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 dominating 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 Gaza. 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 Quran – 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-round support 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 Gaza 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 Gaza.

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 Gaza 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 sanctity 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 Gaza while loudly condemning others who cannot remain indifferent to their call of duty to help Gaza, 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 audience! You who are present at this conference are thinkers and specialists about the problem 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 of Palestine, 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 Gaza 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 Gaza is one of the most urgent problems of Palestine. The Hamas government – which was elected by a decisive majority of the Palestinians and whose epical 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 honor the memory of the martyrs of the 22-day war. With their blood they made the Palestinian Gaza a matter of pride for Islam and Arabs. I implore God’s mercy and forgiveness for them. In addition, I invoke His blessings for 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 God, the Most High, to exalt the honor of Islam and Muslims, to bring Muslim nations closer to one another, and bring a daily increasing awakening to the Islamic world.

May Peace and Allah’s mercy and His blessings be upon you.

Author of this article: Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei
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