The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 22, 2020 by Imam Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, on the occasion of Quds Day.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and His peace and greetings be upon Muhammad, upon his pure Household, upon his chosen companions and upon those who follow them until the Day of Judgment.
I extend my greetings to all the Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world and I congratulate them in advance on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr. I also pray to God to accept their worship acts and servitude in this Holy Month of Ramadan, and I thank the Benevolent Creator for the blessing of being present in this month of this divine banquet.
Today is Quds Day, a day created - thanks to Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) intelligent initiative - to unite Muslims on the issue of Holy Quds and in support of the oppressed people of Palestine. It has played an important role in this regard for several decades now, and God willing, it will continue to do so in the future as well. Nations welcomed Quds Day and considered it to be a religious obligation to hold up the flag for Palestine’s liberation. The main policy of the Arrogant Powers and Zionism is to push aside the issue of Palestine in the minds of Muslim communities and to cause it to fade into oblivion.
The most urgent responsibility in this regard is fighting this treachery, which is conducted by the enemy’s political and cultural mercenaries in Islamic countries. The truth is that an issue as important as Palestine is not something that the pride, self-esteem and increasing intelligence of Muslim nations will allow to sink into oblivion, even if the Americans, other domineering powers and their regional minions use all their money and power to achieve this goal.
First, I would like to highlight the magnitude of the tragedy of the occupation of Palestine and the formation of the cancerous tumor of Zionism in that country. Among crimes against humanity in recent times, there is no crime that equals this crime in terms of scope and gravity. Occupying a country, permanently driving its people out from their homes and their fatherland, and continuing this historical oppression for decades using the most horrifying forms of murder, crime, destruction of farmlands, and genocide – this is indeed a new record in brutality and wickedness.
The main agents and criminals behind this tragedy are the western governments and their satanic policies. The day when the governments who had the won the war in the First World War were carving up West Asia – namely, the Asian territories of the Ottoman Empire – among themselves at the Paris Conference as spoils of war, they felt the need for a safe stronghold in the heart of this region more than ever in order to guarantee their permanent hegemony. Years earlier, through the Balfour Declaration and with the help of the thinking of the rich Jewish leaders, the British had prepared the ground for the innovation of Zionism to carry out this role. And now the practical groundwork was in place. During those early years, they gradually prepared the preliminaries, and finally after the Second World War they used the opportunity created by the negligence and problems of the regional countries, and dealt their blow. They announced the creation of the bogus regime, the Zionist state without a nation.
The primary target of this blow was the Palestinian nation and secondarily all the other nations in the region. A look at the events that followed in the region shows that the main, short-term goal that westerners and Jewish company owners pursued by creating the Zionist regime was to build a stronghold for their permanent presence and influence in West Asia and also to gain easy access for the opportunity to interfere, coerce and dominate over the regional countries and governments. Therefore, they equipped the bogus and occupying regime with various kinds of military and non-military tools of power, even with atomic weapons, and their plans included the growth of this cancerous tumor from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Sadly, after their initial struggles of resistance, some of which were praiseworthy, the majority of Arab governments gradually succumbed. Particularly after the United States took charge in this matter, they forgot their human, Islamic and political responsibilities and their Arab pride. With delusional hopes they contributed to the enemy’s goals. The Camp David Agreement is a clear example of this bitter historical fact.
After brave sacrifices and struggles in the early years, resistance groups were gradually pulled to the path of unsuccessful negotiations with the occupier and its supporters. They abandoned the route that could have led to the realization of the Palestinian dream. Negotiations with America and other western governments, and also negotiations with useless international groups, were bitter, unsuccessful experiences for Palestine. Holding out an olive branch at the United Nations General Assembly had no result other than the injurious Oslo Accords, and it led to the eye-opening fate of Yasser Arafat.
The dawn of the Islamic Revolution in Iran opened up a new chapter in the struggle for Palestine. From the first steps – namely, driving out the Zionist elements who considered Iran of the Pahlavi period to be one of their safe strongholds – to assigning the unofficial embassy of the Zionist regime to the office of the Palestinian representative, stopping the flow of oil, other great achievements and widespread political activities. All of these measures brought about the emergence of a front of resistance in the entire region. The hope of solving this issue flourished in hearts. The emergence of the resistance front presented the Zionist regime with increasing problems. God willing, the Zionist regime will encounter even more problems in the future.
However, the efforts of the supporters of that regime – with America in the front – increased sharply in order to defend the Zionists. The emergence of the faithful, young, self-sacrificing force of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the formation of highly-motivated groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad within the Palestinian borders unsettled and alarmed not only the Zionist ringleaders but also America and other aggressive western powers. After and in addition to their support of the occupying regime with weapons and propaganda, they added recruiting from within the region and from within Arab society to the top of their agenda. Today the result of their voluminous work is obvious and in plain view, revealing itself in the actions and words of certain leaders of Arab governments and certain treacherous political and cultural Arab activists.
Today, both fronts engage in various activities in the arena of struggle. The difference between them is that the resistance front is moving with increasing power and hope, and it marches on towards attracting increasing elements of power, while the opposing front of oppression, unbelief and arrogance is growing more hollow, hopeless and powerless by the day. A clear manifestation of this assertion is the fact that the Zionist army, which was once considered to be invincible and lightning fast, one that would stop the aggression of two great armies in a matter of days, is currently forced to retreat and accept defeat against popular forces in Lebanon and Gaza.
Nevertheless, the arena of struggle is volatile and full of dangers. It requires constant vigilance, and the objective of this struggle is very important, fateful and vital. Any kind of negligence, inattention or mistakes in fundamental calculations will inflict heavy damage.
Therefore, I would like to offer some advice to all those who have strong feelings for the issue of Palestine:
1- The struggle to liberate Palestine is Jihad in the way of God, and it is an obligation and an Islamic goal. Victory in such a struggle has been guaranteed, because the person who is fighting, even if he is killed, will receive “one of the two excellent things.” [Quran 9:52] Apart from this, the issue of Palestine is a human issue. Driving out millions of human beings from their homes, farmlands and places of business, and doing so through murder and crimes, troubles everyone’s conscience and it inspires opposition in everyone who has courage and determination. Therefore, restricting this to be merely a Palestinian issue, or at best an Arab issue, is a grave mistake. Those who consider the concessions made by a few Palestinian elements or rulers of a few Arab countries as a license to sidestep this Islamic and human issue are making a grave mistake in understanding the issue, and perhaps they are guilty of betrayal for distorting the truth.
2- The aim of this struggle is the liberation of all the Palestinian lands – from the river to the sea – and the return of all Palestinians to their homeland. Reducing this struggle to the formation of a government in a corner of the Palestinian lands – particularly, in the humiliating way that is mentioned in the discourse of shameless Zionists – is neither a sign of righteous struggle nor a sign of realism. The truth is that today millions of Palestinians have achieved a level of thinking, experience and self-esteem such that they can focus their efforts on this great struggle in the way of God and be certain of divine assistance and the ultimate victory. “Surely Allah will help him who helps His cause; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.” [22:40] Undoubtedly, many Muslims throughout the world will support them and share in their struggle, God willing.
3- Although using any halal and religiously permissible means, including global support, is allowed in this struggle - it is absolutely essential to avoid trusting western governments and international groups that are covertly or overtly dependent on them. They are opposed to any effective entity of an Islamic nature. They have no regard for human rights. They themselves are the cause of the worst harm and crimes against the Islamic nation. Which global institution and which criminal power is currently being held accountable for the assassinations, the mass murders, the warmongering, the bombings and the human-made famines in many Islamic and Arab countries?
Today, the world is counting one by one every victim of the coronavirus across the globe, but nobody has asked who is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of martyrdoms, imprisonments and disappearances in countries where America and Europe have waged wars. Who is responsible for all the unlawful bloodshed in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria and other countries? Who is responsible for all these crimes and for the occupation, destruction and oppression in Palestine? Why didn’t anyone count the millions of oppressed children, women and men in the world of Islam? Why doesn’t anyone extend their condolences for the mass murder of Muslims? Why should millions of Palestinians spend 70 years away from their homes and in exile? And why should Holy Quds, the first Qiblah of Muslims, be desecrated? The so-called United Nations is not fulfilling its function and the so-called human rights organizations are dead. The slogan of defending the rights of women and children excludes Yemeni and Palestinian women and children.
This is the current condition of the oppressive western powers and dependent global organizations. The disgrace of certain regional governments that follow them is beyond words.
Therefore, a proud and pious Muslim society must rely on itself and its internal forces. It must raise its powerful hand and remove obstacles by relying on and trusting in God.
4- The important point that must not be ignored by the political and military elites of the Islamic world is that the policy of America and the Zionists is to transfer conflicts to behind the frontlines of the front of resistance. Starting civil wars in Syria, the military siege and constant killings in Yemen, the assassinations, the destruction, the creation of the Daesh in Iraq and other similar things in some other countries in the region are all machinations to divert the attention of the resistance front and to provide opportunities for the Zionist regime. Some Muslim politicians knowingly, and some others unknowingly, have contributed to these machinations of the enemy. The main way to prevent these machinations is for the proud youth throughout the world of Islam to seriously make this demand. Young people in all Islamic countries, particularly in Arab countries, must pay attention to this advice from Imam Khomeini (r.a.), “Vent all your shouts on America” and of course, on the Zionist enemy.
5- The policy of normalizing the presence of the Zionist regime in the region is one of the main policies of the United States of America. Certain Arab governments in the region, which act as America’s minions, have been preparing the ground for this normalization by establishing economic ties and other such things. These efforts are completely vain and futile. The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed. Then, the shame will fall on those who put their facilities at the service of this policy of the arrogant powers. To justify this disgraceful behavior, some people argue that the Zionist regime is a reality that the region must come to terms with. They forget that it is necessary to fight and destroy fatal and harmful realities. Today the coronavirus is a reality and yet all wise people agree that it is necessary to fight it. Undoubtedly, the long-lasting virus of Zionism will not last much longer, and it will be uprooted thanks to the determination, faith and pride of the youth.
My main advice is to continue this struggle and to better organize the organizations for Jihad work, their cooperation and to expand the areas of Jihad inside Palestinian territories. Everyone must assist the Palestinian nation in this holy struggle. Everyone must contribute to the Palestinian fighters and stand behind them. We will proudly do everything in our power on this path. One day we came to the conclusion that the Palestinian fighters had piety, pride and courage and their only problem was that they had no weapons in their hands. With divine guidance and assistance, we planned and the result was that the balance of power was transformed in Palestine, and today Gaza can stand against the aggression of the Zionist enemy and defeat it. This change in the equation in the occupied lands will bring the issue of Palestine closer to the final steps. The Palestinian Authority has a great responsibility in this regard. One cannot communicate with a savage enemy except through force and from a position of power. Thankfully, the ground has been prepared for the brave and resistant people of Palestine to gain this power. Today, the Palestinian youth are yearning to defend their dignity.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon have been a proof for everyone. The world has not forgotten and will not forget the day when the Zionist army broke through the Lebanese borders and marched till Beirut or the day when a criminal murderer by the name of Ariel Sharon caused a bloodbath in Sabra and Shatila. It has not forgotten and will not forget the day when the same army pounded by Hezbollah had no choice but to retreat from the borders of Lebanon and beg for a truce after sustaining heavy casualties and admitting defeat. This is what full hands and a position of power means. Now let that European government, which should be eternally ashamed for selling chemical agents to the regime of Saddam Hussein, designate the devoted Hezbollah as illegal. Illegal is a regime like America that creates the Daesh and a regime like that European government whose chemical agents caused the death of thousands in the city of Baneh in Iran and the city of Halabja in Iraq.
7-My final word is that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians; therefore, it should be run as they wish. The referendum - with the participation of all Palestinian religions and ethnicities, this is what we have been suggesting for almost two decades - is the only solution for the challenges which Palestine is facing at the present time and in the future. This plan shows that the western accusations of anti-Semitism which have been repeated time and time again are completely unfounded. On the basis of this plan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim Palestinians will determine together the political system of their country by participating in a referendum. That which should definitely go is the Zionist regime, since Zionism is a bizarre innovation which has been planted in Judaism and is totally alien to that religion.
I would like to close this speech by remembering the martyrs of Quds, including Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, Fathi Shaqaqi, Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi, Martyr Soleimani, the great Muslim commander and the unforgettable face of resistance, and also the great Iraqi Mujahid Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. I extend my greetings to the soul of the great Imam Khomeini (r.a.) who opened the path of dignity and Jihad for us. I also ask Allah the Exalted to bestow His mercy on our late brother, Hussein Sheikh al-Islam who for years worked diligently on this path.
May Allah’s greetings and mercy be upon you.