Written by Y. Mansharof. E. Kharrazi, Y. Lahat, and A. Savyon
In advance of Qods (Jerusalem) Day, which this year falls on July 25, 2014, and against the backdrop of the continued fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian resistance organizations in Gaza - Hamas and Islamic Jihad - Iran's leaders have, in speeches, called implicitly and explicitly for the annihilation of the State of Israel. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also stressed the need to arm the West Bank, while Mohsen Rezaei, former commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, called on the resistance organizations in Gaza to kidnap Israelis in order to stop Israel from firing on Gaza, and promised all kinds of military aid to the Palestinians. Also, Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi called for finding a way "to end the story of the Zionist regime" with a military defense alliance of the resistance forces against Israel, or with an attack on Israel by the Arab states that have Western weapons.
With the revival of the resistance axis, and Hamas' renewed and open participation in it, senior officials in the Iranian leadership – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Majlis speaker Ali Larijani, and a top IRGC official – held phone conversations with Hamas political bureau head Khaled Mash'al, in which Tehran expressed its willingness to aid Hamas in all necessary ways in the conflict with Israel. Basij deputy commander Ali Fazli even called the Gaza Palestinians "Shi'ites" and stressed that the Palestinian blood connects both the Sunnis and the Shi'ites to the resistance axis.
Iran's leaders also harshly attacked the West, and particularly the U.S., for supporting Israel. It should be noted that even on the Gaza issue, the struggle between the ideological and the pragmatic camps in Iran is evident; the ideological camp bashed the pragmatic camps' mouthpieces for not giving top billing to Israel's "crimes" in Gaza, and its leaders also called on the pragmatic camp to prove its loyalty to Islam by calling publicly for Israel's annihilation.
But even before the ideological camp voiced its criticism of the pragmatic camp, its leaders, headed by Expediency Council head Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Hassan Rohani, and particularly the Jomhouri-ye Eslami daily, came out strongly against Israel, to prove their loyalty to the ideals of the Islamic Revolution. Rafsanjani even publicly criticized President Obama.
This paper will review the main points of the speeches by top Iranian political and military officials, and will also present a MEMRI TV clip of Khamenei's call for Israel's annihilation and a report on Islamic Jihad snipers in Gaza training with Iranian weapons.
"The Determined And Armed Palestinian Resistance And Its Spread To The West Bank Are The Only Way To Deal With That Bestial Regime"
On July 23, 2014, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for the annihilation of Israel, twice stressing the need for arming the West Bank. Khamenei also claimed that he was not talking about the annihilation of the Jews in the region, but only about the annihilation of the Zionist regime. He also came out harshly against the U.S. and its leaders who support Israel, and against the liberal Western culture, and added that "anyone who cares about the fate of Palestine... should provide arms to the people [of the West Bank] too" (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 4366).
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here
He said: "These crimes [of Israel in Gaza] defy imagination. They are the essence of [Israel's] wolf-like and child-killer regime, for which the only solution is its annihilation and liquidation. Of course, until that time [when this happens], the determined and armed Palestinian resistance, and its spread to the West Bank, are the only way to deal with that bestial regime.
"At the same time, America's and the West's impudent defense of the Zionist crimes must impact... the 'consciousness, outlook, and approach' of all of us vis-à-vis the West. We must realize that this is the reality and the truth of America. With its mighty roar on Qods Day, the Iranian nation shows that [it] is the friend of the oppressed and [that] the enemy is the oppressor...
"As the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini said, Israel must be liquidated. [But] the annihilation of Israel as the only way to a real solution does not mean the annihilation of the Jews in the region. In order [to carry out] this logical operation [of annihilating Israel] there is a practical apparatus that the Islamic Republic [of Iran] is presenting to the international community. Based on this apparatus, which is acceptable to the nations [of the world], people living in the region, and belonging to it, will be polled to find out what regime they prefer. In this way, the occupying and forged regime [of Israel] will be annihilated. Of course, until that heartless and child-killer regime is destroyed, the forceful struggle, and determined and armed resistance, are the [only] path to solving [the problem of] this destructive regime...
"Therefore, it is my belief that the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza. Anyone who cares about the fate of Palestine, and who is capable of doing something, should provide arms to the people [of the West Bank] too..."
July 23, 2014 Facebook announcement by Khamenei's office (Source: Facebook.com)
"The leaders of the arrogant countries do not realize that in their defense of the crimes of the filthy and destructive Zionsts they are losing their honor and the honor of their countries, and that history will judge them for their collaboration in these tragedies... The root of this defense of the crimes of the Zionists [lies] in the democratic and liberal regimes and in the logic of the most minimal moral values, in which there is not even a tinge of humanity..."
On July 24, 2014, Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Esmail Kowsar called for arming the West Bank: "One of the ways to help Palestine is to arm West Bank residents so they can stand against the Zionist regime."
Also on July 24, the Basij released a communique calling on the government to urgently submit a bill to the Majlis calling for the arming of the Palestinians in the West Bank in accordance with Khamenei's statement.
Iranian President Rohani: "Oppression And Occupation Cannot Remain Forever"; "Muslims Will Always March On The Path Of The Jerusalem Ideal Until The Day This Land Is Liberated"
In a July 22, 2014 message, Iranian President Hassan Rohani hinted at the annihilation of Israel: "The [Iranian] people's participation in Qods Day is the implementation of orders by the Imam [Khomeini] and its meaning is to announce to the world that Al-Aqsa Mosque is the Muslims' primary qibla [direction of prayer], that Palestine is a sacred land for Muslims, and that this land and the refugees of the Palestinian nation will never be forgotten. Muslims will always march on the path of the Jerusalem ideal until the day this land is liberated, the Palestinian people return to their land, and Muslims freely pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. With its presence, the [Iranian] people will show the world that oppression and occupation cannot remain forever, and that a nation struggling to liberate its land will eventually emerge victorious...
"[The Palestinians] defend themselves – while fasting [during Ramadan] and besieged – against this oppressive and blood-letting regime, and do not surrender to it, but rather stay the course. Ultimately, the oppressed Palestinian people will win this battle [that has so far lasted] 65 years. The Iranian nation has always and will always support oppressed nations, and especially the oppressed Palestinian people in Gaza, and I hope we will soon witness this people's victory over the aggressors and oppressors."
In a July 22, 2014 speech, Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi called for finding a way "to end the story of the Zionist regime" and therefore called on the resistance forces in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine to sign a military defense pact against Israel; on Arab countries to use their armies "to destroy Israel"; and on the Arab oil producing states to withdraw their funds from Western banks in order to apply pressure to stop Israel from attacking the Palestinians. He also expressed sorrow that Iranian forces are unable to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians against Israel: "No one is committing savage crimes like these; this behavior can only be found among wild animals. The oppressive Zionists are only called humans. They are actually wild animals that do not hesitate to commit any inhuman crime and have no honor or human values...
"With their resistance, the people in Gaza have proven that the oppressive Zionist regime's power is crumbling... The people in Gaza have proven, with empty hands and wonderful resistance, and in many wars, that the entire force of this [Israeli] army is crumbling. Although equipped with the world's most advanced weapons, this is the most cowardly military the world has ever seen, since when one of their soldiers is wounded and falls to the ground under fire from Palestinian warriors, this army, with all its supposed strength, abandons him and flees...
"The pure blood of the Palestinian martyrs of the resistance will expose these criminals and their arrogant supporters among the peoples of the world... We must find a solution. A billion and a half billion Muslims cannot sit silently in the face of a few criminal Zionists and postpone the elimination of this cancerous growth from the map of the world. For the sake of the struggle against external threats, and especially the very real dangers of the Zionist regime, popular resistance forces in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria must sign a defense pact under which any attack on any one of them will be considered an attack on all of them, and they will join forces against the aggressors.
"For which threat or which enemy are the large armies of countries in the region, which paid billions of dollars for the world's most advanced weapons, saving their strength? Any one of these armies is sufficient to totally erase Israel from the planet. If the Egyptian army does not intend to act against the oppressive Israeli regime to defend Islam and the Palestinian Arab Muslim people, then the proud Muslim youth of Iran, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and more, are prepared for the final battle against Israel. The problem here is that they do not have access to the borders of the occupied nation of Palestine.
"If each of the oil-rich Muslim countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, and others, would decide to withdraw their funds from Western banks, then immediately upon announcing this decision, the Zionist regime's attacks on the people of Gaza would cease.
"Today, we very much regret that we are sitting here [in Iran] and are not entering the battlefield to fight shoulder to shoulder with the men and women resisting this criminal enemy in Gaza. Of course, we cannot sit idly by and watch the disasters and crimes against Palestinian Muslims, and make do with expressions of solidarity. We must find a way to open Palestine's borders and end the story of the Zionist regime."
Expediency Council Secretary: "10-50 Zionist Hostages In Each [Palestinian] City Are The Best Defensive Battery For That City"
In an July 24, 2014 open letter to the commanders of Hamas' military arm, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Expediency Council Chairman Mohsen Rezaei guaranteed Iranian military aid to Gaza: "The defeat of the Zionists in the current battles will be marked as a turning point in the history of the Palestinian struggle. You must show the murderous criminal Zionists that the resistance is invincible and that Israel is at the end of its road...
"As a representative of the commanders of the Iran-Iraq [1980-88] war, I stress that we will support and defend [you] with all our might and all our means... Your battle rages on, the weapons and gear that you need will reach your hands in every way possible...
"Undoubtedly, the Zionists have no ability to defend themselves against the [resistance's] guerilla attacks. Ten to 50 Zionist hostages in each [Palestinian] city are the best defensive battery for that city. Clearly in such a situation the occupiers will have no choice but to surrender to you."
Deputy Basij Commander: "The People Of Gaza Are Undoubtedly Shi'ite"
On July 24, 2014, Deputy Basij commander Ali Fazli said that the Palestinians in Gaza are partners in the resistance axis, and even called them "Shi'ites": "The people of Gaza are undoubtedly Shi'ite... because the people of Gaza could not have stood against the Zionist regime and sacrificed itself for two weeks with resistance alone. The blood spilled in Gaza and Palestine for the defense of all of Islam connects the Shi'a and the Sunna, and therefore the resistance front should unite and preserve its unity against the arrogance."
Deputy IRGC Commander: "We Will Pursue You House To House And Avenge The Blood Of Our Martyrs"
Deputy IRGC commander Hossein Salami said: "The Zionist regime is a society without roots, land, race, history, or identity – a tree without a root, planted by England... We will pursue you house to house and will avenge the blood of our martyrs. Palestine will not sit quietly any longer. Ultimately, the Islamic world will be the graveyard of America, Israel, and the leaders of the reactionary [Arab] countries, and flag of Islam will fly across the world."
"The Chief Traitors Are Within The Islamic World – And They Are Operating Together With America And The Zionist Regime"
At a July 21, 2014 press conference, Mohammad Nabi Habibi, head of the Islamic Coalition Party which is loyal to Khamenei, said: "One of the Zionist regime's foolish actions is to commit savage crimes against the innocent Palestinian people in Gaza close to Qods Day...
"Some countries, like Saudi Arabia, have taken no position and have said nothing regarding the defenseless people in Gaza and Palestine, and [such actions] are expected from the heads of these countries because they themselves are assisting Israel. The chief traitors are within the Islamic world – and they are operating together with America and the Zionist regime. I predict that just as the Imam [Khomeini] predicted, Israel's annihilation will be implemented."
Leader Khamenei: "The Anti-American And Anti-Western Outlook In Iran Is The Logical Outlook"
In a July 23, 2014 speech, Supreme Leader Khamenei attacked those in Iran who are calling for dialogue with the U.S. – hinting at Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Rohani, and said: "We must know America better by means of this crisis, and this insight must impact our attitude, our outlook, and our conduct towards it. It must become the standard for us all...
"The slogans against America, the West, and the arrogance that are voiced in our country reflect the truth and the existential reality of America – but some think, mistakenly, that [shouting] these slogans is an action that is fanatical and lacking in logical thought.
"The anti-American and anti-Western outlook in Iran is the logical outlook, and it is based on experience and healthy deliberations...
"In contrast to the [Iranian] nation, there are some [hinting at Rafsanjani and President Rohani] who want those contemptible and West-struck people [who adopt Western culture] to again grab power [in Iran]. We must stand fast against this movement [i.e. the pragmatic camp] – and this steadfastness is correct and completely logical."
Kayhan Attacks Rafsanjani, Saudi Leaders: "The Belief That Israel Must Be Destroyed Is A Condition Of Our Loyalty To Islam, Iran, And Humanity"
The Kayhan daily, which is close to Khamenei, in its July 22, 2014 editorial attacked pragmatic camp leaders Rafsanjani and Rohani for their desire for rapprochement with the U.S.; it also attacked Saudi Arabia and others who call for dialogue with the U.S. and Israel and said that they are traitors and non-Muslims: "The Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'Anyone who hears a Muslim calling "oh Muslims" and does not heed him is not a Muslim.' Anyone who does not consider Muslim affairs important is not a Muslim.
"How can you be indifferent to the oppressor's aggression towards the oppressed? Those who speak or act against the words of the Prophet [Muhammad] are partners in encouraging the arrogant [Western powers] to attack and spill the blood of oppressed Muslims in the region – just as Al-Saud and the other reactionary circles in the region do...
"Iran's national security requires that we not remain indifferent to this war that was forced on the region. The oppressed Palestinian people and the Lebanese and Syrian people – even if they weren't Muslims – deserve full backing because they are oppressed. At the same time, along with this religious and moral responsibility, the truth is that had the resistance circles not reined in the cancerous Zionist regime, [we] would be fighting it on our own borders and our own territory right now.
"The Zionists do not hesitate for a second to expand their map of occupied land from the Nile to the Euphrates. If Israel is a cancerous growth, which it is, we cannot remain indifferent to it.
"An important question here is... whether it makes sense for our Foreign Ministry to devote all, or the main part, of its aspirations to the nuclear negotiations, and ignore other important regional matters. We must ask – while appreciating the ministry's negotiating efforts – whether it makes sense for us to allow them to sit us down as defendants around the negotiating table and engage us there while they [the superpowers] secure the region, from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine?
"Do we believe in the undeniable principle of strategic depth in foreign policy? And if this principle is undeniable, then how hard is our Foreign Ministry working to preserve and expand it? Initiative, not passivity, is a principle of deterrence for national strength, and as the Imam [Ali] said: 'Fight the enemy before it fights you...'
"Because of the betrayal by some of its former leaders, the Palestinian people now understand the truth of this wise saying, and is personally experiencing it. Not only did a conciliatory man like Yasser Arafat, who relied completely on seasonal negotiations, not realize any of the Palestinian peoples' rights, but he provoked greater insolence on the part of the occupiers, and even paid for it with his life...
"The belief that Israel must be destroyed is a condition of our loyalty to Islam, Iran, and humanity. Each and every one of our officials must renew our responsibility to the belief in the need to annihilate this cancerous growth of Israel... If we cannot condemn the Zionists and their supporters today, at least in general public opinion, then we ourselves will be condemned."
Rafsanjani: Obama's Support For Israel Is a Black Stain On His Political History
In his July 24 Qods Day speech, Hashemi Rafsanjani directly attacked President Obama's support for Israel, with the aim of showing his domestic opponents that he is loyal to the values of the regime and that he was not calling for reconciliation with the U.S.: "The Zionists made the [greatest] criminals in history pale; the height of oppression [is taking place] there, as the defenders of human rights and the world powers consider this oppression the defensive right of the regime that occupies Jerusalem."
Expressing his sorrow and amazement that U.S. President Barack Obama supports Israel's "crimes," he said: "This will be a black stain on the political history of the U.S. president."
The IRGC-Affiliated Javan Daily:
On July 22, 2014, the daily Javan, which is affiliated with IRGC, clarified that Qods Day is a day for realizing the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, Israel's annihilation and Jerusalem's liberation, the removal of the secular regimes in the Arab countries, the defeat of the West, and the revival of the pure Islam of the Prophet Muhammad: "In Imam Khomeini's thought, Qods Day is not merely a symbolic day, because if the Muslims fulfill their obligation regarding it, there is hope that the cancerous growth, Zionism, will be annihilated and Jerusalem will be liberated...
"In the Imam's view, Qods Day is the day on which Muslims awaken from the trance of indifference that was caused by imperialism and the arrogance. [Qods Day] paves the way for Jerusalem's liberation. In the Imam's view, it is not a symbolic day and its slogans are not ceremonial, for if all the Muslims were to unite these blessings will be seen.
"Additionally, Qods Day is the day that Muslims and the liberated, [formerly] subjugated peoples throughout the world are reminded of the true path for liberating Jerusalem. Therefore, Jerusalem's liberation follows the path of the Muslims' awakening and the weapon of reliance on faith.
"This is the very opposite of the appeasement approach that unfortunately is still evident amongst some reactionary Arab leaders. By taking Islamic Iran as a model, the nations would bring about an Islamic awakening amongst the Islamic ummah, and the toppling of the [secular Arab governments] that work for the power-seekers; this will be the prelude to the liberation of Jerusalem.
"In Imam [Khomeini's] thought, this day is not only about the ideal of Palestine, but is also a day for shouting out the original ideas of the Islamic Revolution, against the thugs and the oppressors. According to the Imam, Qods Day is the day of the struggle of the oppressed against the arrogance, the day of the struggle of the nations under the pressure of American domination... against the superpowers... Qods Day is the day on which we must rescue all the oppressed from the claws of the arrogance.
"Qods Day aspires to an even more sacred goal – the revival of the pure Islam of Muhammad, as opposed to the American Islam. This mission is carried out by emphasizing the discourse of the pure Islam... The Imam said on this [issue]: 'Qods Day is the day on which it is necessary to revive Islam and implement the laws of Islam in the Islamic kingdoms. Qods Day is the day of Islam's revival, and the Muslims must awaken and understand the power that Muslims have – material power and spiritual power. There are 1 billion Muslims, and they have the backing of God, of Islam, and of faith – so what do they have to fear?'
"Setting up Islamic governments is the only way to actualize Islamic objectives, and to humiliate the arrogant [Western powers]. Therefore, one of World Qods Day's special messages is the cry of the establishment of an Islamic government.
"[As Khomeini said:] Qods Day is not only the day of Palestine, but [also] the day of Islam, the day of the Islamic government, a day that the flag of the Islamic republic will be raised throughout the countries, a day when the superpowers must realize that they can advance no further in the Islamic kingdoms.
"I see Qods Day as the day of Islam and the day of the Prophet [Muhammad], a day when we mobilize all our forces so that Muslims can emerge from the isolation into which they were dragged, and can stand fast with all their might against the foreigners. We stand fast against the foreigners with all our might, and we will not allow others to interfere in our kingdom; the Muslims need not allow anyone to interfere in their kingdoms.
"One of the ideals of the Islamic revolution is cohesion and unity among the oppressed against domination by the power-seekers of the arrogance in the world. One of the Imam's wishes for promoting this mission was to set up a global party of the oppressed, to comprise all the liberated [formerly] oppressed of the world, that will lead the battle against those the power-seekers and will institute the legacy of the oppressed.
"Qods Day is a prelude to this strategic movement, and it is based on those movements of the oppressed worldwide who have a single objective – support for Jerusalem and the Palestinian people.
Islamic Jihad Snipers Unit Trains With Iranian Arms
On July 23, 2014, the @IRGCspy Twitter account, which is affiliated with the IRGC, tweeted a photo from a December 26, 2013 report from Gaza by the Fars news agency, also affiliated with the IRGC, about the training of an Islamic Jihad snipers unit. The tweet said that the weapons they were using were of Iranian manufacture.
"Iranian Sayyad-2 sniper's rifle used by Saraya Al-Quds [Jerusalem Brigades] fighters." Photo from December 26, 2013 report.
In the same report from Gaza, Fars mentioned the establishment of a sniper unit in Saraya Al-Quds, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, and included photos of the unit training with Iranian weapons.
Islamic Jihad militants, some in camouflage, undergo training in firing Iranian weapons
Islamic Jihad members emerge from tunnels equipped with Iranian weapons
Sniper fire exercise from a camouflaged position.
*Y. Mansharof. E. Kharrazi, and Y. Lahat are Research Fellows at MEMRI; A. Savyon is Director of the Iranian Media Project at MEMRI.
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