Qods Day Speech (Jerusalem Day)
Chairman of Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani
December 14, 2001, Friday
Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran, in Persian 1130 gmt 14 Dec 01
Translated by BBC Worldwide Monitoring
Chairman of Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani warned the USA not to get the wrong idea from Taleban's swift defeat and try using force to get rid of other governments it dislikes. He spoke at the Qods Day (Jerusalem Day) rallies that are held on the last Friday of Ramadan, which in 2001 fell on 14 December. Delivering Tehran Friday prayers sermons at Tehran University on 14 December, Rafsanjani added: "But, such calculations about Afghanistan cannot work in other places." The following is an excerpt from a recording of the first sermon of the prayers, broadcast by Iranian radio on the same day; subheadings inserted editorially:
In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate... In response to your demands I will dedicate the first sermon to the Palestinian issue and the events in the world of Islam. I will use the second sermon to deal with other matters.
First, I have to thank all the good people who have made an effort to participate in the Quds rallies. In many streets I saw their ranks moving towards the university. This reflects the vigilance, the awareness, the faith and the dependable character of our good people. I hope similar support for the Palestinians is being expressed throughout the world.
The Palestinian issue, and the formation of the state of Israel, is among the worst periods of our contemporary history. I don't know of any similar tragedy. In the fifty years that this pseudo state has been formed, and in the several decades before it, when fighting was going on, hundreds of thousands of holy people shed their blood, millions of people lost their homes, millions of people were injured, tragedies resulting from these events constitute the greatest encyclopedia of crime committed by the World Arrogance. History will not forget these things. In my sermon I would like to discuss some 30 points about the history of these events. I think it may be possible to speak about them in a single discourse and I would like to refer to the important points of this history.
First, this is the most misfortunate, tragic and bitter colonial event. Secondly colonialism, lead by Britain and then America, and supported by the United Nations and other sections of the World Arrogance are responsible for these crimes. If in the future an international court is formed - and this is my third point: a court will be formed sooner or later - and if those responsible for these crimes are put on trial many bitter truths will become known in the court. We should follow up this idea and we should ask just and knowledgeable judges to look into these crimes.
The fourth point is that the engine for this disaster is international Zionism. Zionism is a political party which was created some 100 years ago. It is named after the devotees of Zion, a hilltop in Bayt al-Maqdis. This party is not purely Jewish and not all Jews are Zionist. There are many Jews who don't believe in Zionism. There are many Jewish scholars in America who have been active against the these events. They are also present in other parts of the world. Not all the members of the party are Jewish. There are distinguished Western politicians who were Zionist, such as Churchill, Eisenhower, Kennedy, etc. Of course, I am not an expert in this field and I don't want to put any names in this list but those who are interested can find out the names of the well known Zionists. This party is still very active around the world and it is the engine for important events connected to Israel, and the Arab and Islamic world. This was my fourth point.
The fifth point is that the loss suffered by the formation of the pseudo state of Israel went beyond Palestine. The Jewish people themselves suffered. This is so because the Jewish people were settled in many countries. In our country, Iran, they were getting on with their life. They were engaged in business. They were rich. They enjoyed influence and a good life. This Zionist movement provoked many Jews, on the basis of their devotion to a religious state of their own, to take a wrong posture. They were put under pressure. There was an exodus and many of them became homeless. Now they have to live in those territories. I will discuss the living conditions in this country if I have the time. But they now have to wait for a possible reverse exodus because finally one day, this tumour in the body of the Islamic world will be removed and then millions of Jews who have moved there will be homeless again. When will this happen? We have to discuss this point on another occasion.
Formation of Israel
This formation of Israel was also to the loss of the region. The region suffered a great loss. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on armament and war. This is beside the acts of injustice committed against the people of Palestine. So who has benefited from the situation? This is my sixth point: The root of the problem is colonial. As traditional form of colonialism came to an end the colonialists sought new instruments of influence . One of these was to impose lackey governments in the previous colonies. The other was to create many military bases across the world, in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and other sensitive regions of the world. Costly military colonial posts on land and sea. But the most important objective was to create governments which were totally dependent on colonialism and the best case was that of the Jews - the Zionist government in the Palestinian land. This base was to serve several objectives.
Firstly, it was aimed at getting rid of Zionism in the West, which had become a real nuisance to governments and great powers. It was causing trouble. They threw them out and brought them to Palestine. Secondly, they made Zionism and the Israeli government dependent on themselves to make sure that they would be a tool in their hands. However, the opposite is true as well. They have lobbies which take advantage of colonialism to ensure their own survival. However, colonialism is the main factor. Later on, it was transformed into imperialism because colonialism did not officially exist any more. That was how it manifested itself.
Thirdly, they did that to cause insecurity and threaten other governments and force them to become dependent on imperialism. Then they could sell them arms and do other military things as well. This deeply affected the lives of the people and government of the region and Muslims because they needed particular Western and imperialist products.
There was constant warfare and regional countries became insecure and there was an attempt to prevent their economic and technological growth. We can see this happening and one does not need to explain it in detail. You can see all these things. Therefore, that is the important point. Please do not forget that point until the end of our discussion. Then we can see how much we can count on that when we are analysing the situation or when we are making predictions about the future. The Israeli government was established to act as a guardian, protector and gendarme that defends the interests of imperialism. I have already mentioned several points with regard to that issue.
The Israeli government itself, be it when it was in its embryonic stage or in its present shape, has been hanging from the umbilical cord of colonialism. It has been feeding off it. If the imperialists stop supporting it, it will be in trouble. Thus there is no independent government in Israel in the true sense of the word. It is totally dependent. Now, the Americans are officially contributing 4bn dollars a year to it. There is also the unofficial contributions made by Jewish communities and others. It is a lot.
US-British support for Israel
It is also supported politically in the United Nations and many other places. They also contain Islamic and Arab governments. Israel needs all of those things and the Americans and Britain are meeting its needs. Therefore, we should consider it to be an outgrowth of colonialism and a multi-purpose colonial base. That is where we should start discussing the next point. So the survival of Israel depends on the interests of imperialists and colonialists. So they go together.
The colonialists will keep this base as long as they need it. Now, whether they can do so or not is a separate issue and this is my next point. Any time they find a replacement for that particular instrument, they will take it up and this will come to an end. This will open a new chapter. Because colonialism and imperialism will not easily leave the people of the world alone. Therefore, you can see that they have arranged it in a way that the balance of power favours Israel. Well, from a numerical point of view, it cannot have as many troops as Muslims and Arabs do. So they have improved the quality of what they have. Classical weaponry has its own limitations. They have limited use. They have a limited range as well. They have supplied vast quantities of weapons of mass destruction and unconventional weapons to Israel. They have permitted it to have them and they have shut their eyes to what is going on. They have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles and suchlike.
If one day ... Of course, that is very important. If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists' strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality. Of course, you can see that the Americans have kept their eyes peeled and they are carefully looking for even the slightest hint that technological advances are being made by an independent Islamic country. If an independent Islamic country is thinking about acquiring other kinds of weaponry, then they will do their utmost to prevent it from acquiring them. Well, that is something that almost the entire world is discussing right now.
Now, even if that does not happen, they can still inflict greater costs on the imperialists. That is possible as well. Developments over the last few months really frightened the Americans. That is a cost in itself. Under special circumstances, such costs may be inflicted on the imperialists by people who are fighting for their rights or by Muslims. Then they will compare them to see how they could advance their interests better or what they can do. However, we cannot engage in such debates for too long. We cannot encourage that sort of thing either. I am only talking about the natural course of developments. The natural course of developments is such that such things may happen.
Those who are desperate, but who are also faithful and idealistic, see that this is in their best interests. Then no-one will be able to control them. That is when they become disappointed with such ordinary deceptive methods. Therefore, in the future, the interests of colonialism and imperialism dictate whether Israel will survive or not. Moreover, it is the resistance put up by Muslims and Iraq and the Palestinians themselves that matters. They should besiege imperialists and make them think about whether it serves their interests or not. They should also think about whether maintaining the current balance of power, which favours Israel, is affordable or not. Both of those things may change in the future.
Well, what kind of policy should the Islamic Republic pursue? That is a different issue, which is our eighth or ninth point. As I said, the supreme leader of the revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i has repeatedly said what our policy is. He explicitly said that during the Friday-prayer sermons which he delivered recently. He has enunciated our policy. Whatever we say is an analysis of those policies. The government, the Majlis and all the Iranian institutions and our friends abroad all pursue the same policy.
Well, during all those stages, the Palestinian jihad was proceeding as well. To be honest, the Palestinians never remained completely silent. They had their ups and downs. However, they never became silent. For a while, armed struggle intensified. However, they had to intervene. Their intervention took place through the pressure that was exerted on those who were involved in the armed struggle. It raised the issue of Camp David through puppet governments. It took up 20 years of the Palestinians' time.
It is not the case that the jihad has completely subsided. However, there have also created false hopes along with the people's rather quiet jihad. In the end, it resulted in the formation of the so-called national authority. They made false promises which included only 6,000 km of the 28,000 km of the Palestinian territory. In this way, they could form a small and insignificant government here. However, it seems that that era is coming to an end.
At this stage the Palestinians waited. They fell silent and waited. They formed political parties. Some of them took up arms but they were not strong. The final stage of compromise was held at Camp David II, in New York or Washington in America. At that stage Arafat who had been optimistic about the efforts of the American brokers lost hope. When he came to Iran he said President Clinton's comments at the meeting was a bomb which destroyed the negotiations, the statements of the American president - expressed after several days of intense negotiations - was merely a different version of the Israeli demands, and the meeting broke up. Arafat had written it all down. He read them for me from his notebook.
In the meantime the intifadah began and found a new climax. The Palestinians came to the conclusion that negotiations, be they in Madrid, Camp David, Oslo or any other place, will succeed, only if it is accompanied by their own efforts, selflessness and revolutionary actions. This was the background to the second Intifadah. It began when the Lebanese, with their spirited actions, forced the Israelis, for the first time, to flee in disgrace. This was a good and inspiring lesson. The Palestinian struggle lives on and the Intifadah, the current climax of the Palestinian struggle, is the result of the misleading and dishonest actions of the Western powers. We are witnessing this in the world today. The situation has deep roots. This is the tenth point that I wanted to make.
Now is the Palestinian revolution, the current Intifadah, going to weaken in the future? Some people may think that the Palestinians are going to get tired, that a small community is not going to be able to stand against all this power, that the feebleness and incapability of the Islamic world and its governments will undermine their resolve. But this judgement is wrong.
For one thing the Palestinian jihad has been the source of inspiration to many other Islamic movements throughout the world. It was a source of inspiration to us in Iran. It has been a source of inspiration to Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Central Asia, Chechnya, African countries, Sudan. They feel obliged to support this jihad. Furthermore, their own advancement has similar positive effects on the Palestinian movement . These countries are not going to forget their source of inspiration. They will keeping an eye on the situation. The Palestinian movement will survive. There may be ups and downs. There many be small ups and downs in view of the global situation. But this is not going to die because it is rooted in the homelessness of five million people, in the innocence of eight million people, in the innocent blood of hundreds of thousands of martyrs whose call is still being heard, in the fallen weapons that call to be taken up, in the feelings of innocence and justice, and more than anything, in the path of martyrdom and happiness and the path of the Almighty. Therefore, you cannot say that the Palestinian movement will die. There may be ups or downs but it will survive. And it will undoubtedly end with the liberation of Palestine.
The huge wave of Islamic jihad of Palestine subsided with the start of the compromise negotiations. Then, when the talks reached a deadlock, the Palestinian intifadah intensified once again, and today, we face a new situation. The important issue today is very important and deserves a mention.
This is my 11th point. It seems that global arrogance has planned four different moves to stop and quell the present intifadah, or at least rid itself of its grave consequences. The first one concerns propaganda. You can see the great propaganda campaign which is in progress in the world today with the aim of introducing them the Palestinians as terrorists, and Israel as the side that is defending itself. You need someone as foolhardy as Molla Nasreddin legendary witty folk figure to believe this. Otherwise, who can believe that Israel, with all its helicopters, F-16 aircraft, tanks and rockets - which it uses to assassinate people - is the side that it is engaged in self-defence, but a selfless and devoted human being, who sees no other option but to attach a bomb to himself and blow himself to pieces in some place, is the terrorist element? If one day, the world reaches such a conclusion and offers such a judgment, then we must consider humanity as dead and buried, and we must start to believe that humans are the same as, or even worse than, animals. Of course, already there are people who act in such a way, but at the same time, claim to champion the cause of human rights.
In my opinion, such a belief is not going to find any place among the righteous-seeking and struggling people. Yet, this kind of propaganda exists in the world today.
The second method they have chosen is violence. You can see how it Israel is perpetrating violence. When one person is killed inside the Israeli territory, a squadron of helicopters begin to fire indiscriminately at the people. You can see for yourselves how far violence has gone. Is this kind of violence a proportionate and appropriate response? Of course, it must be acknowledged that both these methods - that is to say propaganda and violence - have had some effect, but in general, they just aggravate an already bad situation. The people who have no choice but to resort to martyrdom-seeking operations are not going to frightened of this violence. After all, they have nothing to lose. How is a person going to lose anything when he believes that by blowing himself up, one minute he is on this material world and the next moment he is going to be transferred to the divine paradise on the wings of divine angels, and once there, he will sit next to the Prophet and the disciples of God, in a reception given in the honour of divine martyrs?
This is really like a duck trying to threaten the river, or the sea. There is no way that a fish can live without the water of the sea.
As I said earlier, the conditions in Palestine are creating this type of people. These acts of violence by Israel may silence some uncertain or opportunist elements, but as a rule, they will strengthen the resolve of others. It is because of this that I want to tell global arrogance to be on guard. It is here that the cost of exerting pressure on the people of Palestine and lending support to Israel can be very high for global arrogance. If one day, these tired, faithful and martyrdom-loving people decide to deliver blows to the vital interests of arrogance no matter where they are, then they can do this. They the Americans may be able to stop half of these operations, or even two-thirds of them, but some will still be carried out, and when they do, the costs will be huge. The events in New York can be a lesson for the Americans, particularly today, when, due to their aggressive moves and their mistakes, they have paved the way and made it possible for some groups to be armed with non-conventional weapons.
Therefore, as a person who has good knowledge of history, particularly the history of popular movements, I would like to admonish the Westerners not allow to matters to go this far. They should not feel happy about events such as attacks by helicopters, or other acts of violence by Israel . This is very dangerous, and we really do not want to see the world security to be disrupted, and we do not want to see the present insecurity - which has cost the world more than 1,000bn dollars and has paralysed the world in many areas, including in Israel itself. The West should not allow the world to suffer from such conditions. They should not allow a situation of confrontation and antagonism between the devoted, martyrdom-seeking forces, and the centres of arrogant power, in the form of the Third World War. This is the worst possible scenario, if arrogance continues with its present ways.
The other path that they have chosen is the path of deceit and false promises. America announces that it supports an independent Palestinian state, with Bayt al-Maqdis as its capital. However, we see that things are different in practice. Europe says the same thing, and Mitchell puts forward a plan. Naturally, such plans have short-term effects for a month or two. Nonetheless, after a while, it seems the people who made these promises start to regret their statements, while, at the same time, those who had believed these promises also start to regret their decision. These plans are not going to produce much. Their last plan involves the use of the so-called Palestinian self-rule authority. This is very bitter indeed. They provide the self-rule authority with a list of names, and ask them to arrest and hand over to Israel for example 200 people on the list. God forbid if the leaders of the self-rule authority fall for this, although they already have done to some extent. They the Israelis are not going to be happy with just an arrest. They are after more.
The worst things that can happen is division and fighting among themselves. All those who have been engaged in jihad for the past 50 years will destroy all their background with one wrong action. We do not want this bitter incident to occur in the history of the Palestinian struggle. However, it is possible for such a thing to happen. I think a few days ago, the Israelis announced that they had complete confidence in Arafat and his intention to establish security. You have witnessed that Israel and America emphasize that there should be complete calm for one week before serious negotiations can begin. They think that this one week is enough and after that it will be difficult to revitalize it the intifadah . During this week other decisions will be made. The self-rule government should not give in to this and think that it will achieve its objectives in this way. In America, he Arafat saw and heard the final words of Mr Clinton and he noted them in his old note book. He knows what can happen. As a result, God willing, the leaders of the self-rule government will not be deceived by this big trickery.
Another solution that they are hopeful about, is to tire the mojahedin and to propagate, what they used to always say to us in Iran, that there is no use in these actions, and they are like trying to achieve the impossible; they said why should these valuable human beings be destroyed like this. These are not in line with Islamic and Koranic logic. These who are in the arena are Muslims.
The Koran says that it is not such that your enemy should not be harmed... In a serious and true jihad, if you suffer, your enemy will also suffer. It addition, it says: you have some hopes that are far beyond their reach. With this suffering, you will reach absolute prosperity and with their suffering, they will plunge into hell; these are not equal. You rely on justice and God, and they are on the edge of an abyss of fire preceding sentence in Arabic and these two are not the same.
You, who believe yourselves to be intelligent people and diplomats, shouldn't say that why are these Palestinian children are being lost like this. These blows are very fatal. You are destroying the enemy from within. A nation which does not have atomic and chemical weapons and F-16s, has discovered something stronger than F-16s which it has pursued. You have left them no option. You have shut off everywhere to them . You have placed them there through your extermination methods . As a result, it seems that these methods which the imperialists are using, will lead to no where. These were some eight or nine points which I have made and not kept count of . You yourself should count them.
Self defence or terrorism
See what arrogance Israel is demonstrating in this regard. The conference of the Islamic countries' foreign ministers in Qatar was on the basis of an invitation by Arafat and everyone was Arafat's guest. Israel arrogantly said that Arafat has no right to leave Palestine and even went further and said he shouldn't leave Ramallah. Today, they are saying he has no right to leave his home. Well, this is a self-rule government. He is a weak designated against elected mayor without any authority. What government and establishment is this? What have you pinned your hopes on? Why have you wasted the Palestinian nations' time for 20 years. Today some advise the youth and the women who have recently joined the masses of martyrdom-seeking individuals, to protect and preserve themselves for some other time. I want to mention two other important issues in another part of my speech .
Now that the situation has become a bit desperate, the Europeans, who during the past few months pursued a different approach to that of America and Israel and had made the Islamic world a little hopeful, have changed their stance.
They are openly saying that Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine are terrorist organizations. They are so shameless that they ask Islamic countries to treat these groups as if they were terrorists, to close down their accounts, to close their offices, to put their members on trial. To be so obedient is a source of shame for European governments which see themselves as being equal to America. How can they explain this injustice to their own nations and freedom-loving people? Is this fair judgement? There are five million Palestinian refugees, their families live on UN handouts in camps and shanty towns. Their groves, homes, farms and workshops inside Palestinian territories are being taken over by rich Zionists. They are only defending themselves and you call them terrorists. It is shameful. You have to be truly shameless. What sort of people pronounce these things and vote for these things in their countries? Let the world see the truth. Let the freedom-loving people of the world see the truth. Let them see that those who call themselves the leaders of the free world and who claim to be defending human rights are, in fact, opposed to human rights. They are weak and inferior. There is no rationale for their actions . Their helicopters openly terrorize people on the streets. They, and not the Palestinian Authority, control the airspace. The helicopters come down and target taxi passengers after identifying them. This is what terrorists do. Are they defending helpless people? If this is their rationale then the actions of ordinary terrorists are truly more honourable than this form of freedom seeking encouraged by the West ? One day the world will judge.
The second issue concerns America itself. In Afghanistan, the Americans - according to their own thinking, according to their own analysis - achieved a swift victory through the power of bombardment. Of course, it seems to be the case, but they attach very little value to the main principle and they think that the role played by the Afghan nation, the United Front and the mojahed forces. That is at least what they pretend. That is what they are displaying to the world, even if they do not truly think so. They are trying to exhibit to the world that America has found a way for fighting its opponents. The bombings, on the one hand, and the use of domestic Afghan forces, as far as they do whatever America tells them. But, such calculations about Afghanistan cannot work in other places. You know that the forces which forced the Taleban to withdraw were also involved fighting, their problem was that wherever they were about to advance, Pakistani aircraft would hit their positions in support of the Taleban. And, wherever the Taleban had any shortcoming, the systematic army of Pakistan would intervene voluntarily. Now, the reverse is happening. Now, America is attacking the Taleban instead of the United Front which Pakistan was attacking . America also tied the hands of Pakistan so that it does not interfere from the other side. Yes, that role was indeed played by America, we accept that much. But, if America intends to compare this with other situations and use this process as a model and tested method for its future policies - which seems quite likely at the moment, because such assumptions exist in the While House and the American parliament - that would create another tragedy for mankind and world security, and it will very soon draw the attention of the Americans to the fact that they have made a strategic mistake. That is not a simple task.
The people of Afghanistan were in fact long tired of war, of clashes and of the selfishness of their domestic leaders and many other things. The way was already paved. Even if it was not America, any other powerful country, if it had become involved, could have done this and could have organized such a task. Of course, the future of this is very difficult to predict , because neither America has the capacity, acceptability or popularity among the people, nor there is any trust for it America . Others will not accept this either. We should all work together for the future of Afghanistan so that the people of Afghanistan do not fall into the trap of war, and so that their security, work and reconstruction of their country could get under way. And, if America wishes to show good will, it could also support and help. They the Americans should not think of turning that place Afghanistan into a military base, because the consequences of that can already be envisaged. It will result in dealing blows and receiving blows, it will have ups and downs; but, ultimately, nations cannot accept captivity.
You see that despite this massive deployment of forces the Jews in Palestine are faced with such circumstances. Fifty years have passed and it will be the same in 100 years. The Crusades lasted nearly 200 years and they ended like that. It's the same now. At the end, nations will rise and resist. Amidst this, some will secure their immediate interests, and many will experience the loss.
On the whole, it seems today, the world situation and our region, is in need, on the one hand, of the alertness of nations and governments, and on the other, the realism and fairness of the arrogant powers who want to revitalize the colonial era by deploying troops, and occupying the previously abandoned military bases and securing a presence in the region. There is the hope that, God willing, this trend will secure the interest of justice and righteousness...