‘Strong measures required to stop crimes of Zionist regime’ Hamas leader addresses Iran’s Khamenei

Young Palestinian in Jerusalem is carried to safety after being shot by Israeli forces

A HIGH-RANKING member of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has called on the ‘Muslim world to take up a firm stance in support of the residents of occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, and adopt proper measures to stop the acts of aggression being perpetrated by Israeli forces in the holy city.’

In a message addressed to the Leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday, head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s ongoing aggression against Jerusalem and its inhabitants, including an upsurge in Zionist settlement construction activities, forcibly displacing Palestinians, ethnic cleansing, attacks on the Damascus Gate of the Old City and the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, as well as raids on the al-Aqsa Mosque and worshippers there.

Haniyeh noted that such policies are part of the Israeli authorities’ efforts to legitimise their settlement expansion in the West Bank, displace Palestinians, confiscate their homes and properties, reinforce spatial division of the al-Aqsa Mosque and change the status quo.

‘This is a new crime that has crossed all red lines and hurt the feelings and emotions of the Muslim Ummah,’ he said.

‘It is aimed at the city of Jerusalem as well as its Islamic identity and existence, and affects the livelihood, future, the legitimate rights of its residents – the al-Aqsa Mosque and its guardians in particular.’

Haniyeh then slammed Israel’s acts of aggression during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan and the tense situation in Jerusalem, warning they would have dangerous repercussions.

The Hamas political bureau chief appealed to Ayatollah Khamenei to promptly adopt a firm stance against Israel’s crimes, and to try to mobilise Muslims through Arab, Muslim and international diplomacy in order to prevent the Zionist regime from continuing its brutal crimes against Palestinians, their lands and sanctities in occupied Jerusalem, especially the al-Aqsa Mosque.

‘The continuous and widespread efforts of the Zionist occupiers in the city of al-Quds to forcibly evict 28 Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, heinous attacks against residents of the Damascus Gate, in addition to aggressive and provocative attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and repression of worshippers there are dangerous steps that require international condemnation and strong measures in order to stop the occupying regime and its authorities from continuing their crimes against al-Quds (Jerusalem), al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinian people,’ Haniyeh declared.

He went on: ‘We send out this message to your Excellency during the holy month of Ramadan – the month of solidarity, cooperation and victory, and we all believe and hope that the Islamic Ummah will bond like a well-constructed building to support Palestinians in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and al-Aqsa Mosque, confront the crimes of the Zionist regime, stop settlers from continuing their aggression and support the resistance and steadfastness of the residents of al-Quds and its guardians.’

Haniyeh said that Palestinians in Jerusalem, which has been under Israel’s occupation for more than half a century, have taken the path of resistance and patience to defend the land and sanctities of Palestine on behalf of all Muslim and Arab nations, and will not give up until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital.

Senior advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, says the issue of Palestine continues to be one of the top priorities of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy, adding that Iran will continue to support Palestinians both in words and deeds.

Velayati made the remarks during a webinar last Sunday held by the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening to mark International Quds Day.

‘The issue of Palestine is still one of Iran’s most important and top foreign policy priorities’ he said, adding that Iran shares the same trench with its ‘Palestinian brethren,’ not only in political and diplomatic arenas, but also in the actual field of action and anti-Israeli resistance.

‘Iran will stand with the Palestinian nation and resistance groups until liberation of Jerusalem al-Quds (Jerusalem) from occupation,’ the Leader’s advisor said.

Velayati noted: ‘Today, and pursuant to the efforts made by Palestinian resistance groups against the Zionist regime and due to security strategies used in the “field” of struggle against this regime by the resistance front, the survival of this usurping regime is faced with serious challenges from within.’

He noted that the past defeats suffered by the Zionist regime in its wars against Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, as well as its failure in Syria, clearly prove the correctness of the prediction by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution that ‘the Zionist regime will not see the next 25 years.’

‘The official announcement of normalisation of relations by some Arab countries with the apartheid Zionist regime within framework of the former US President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century was an act of treason to which, according to major polls, the majority of Arab and Islamic public opinion is opposed,’ Velayati noted.

He added that normalisation of ties with Israel is like ‘fire under the ashes’ and will spark widespread opposition of the people in those countries against their reactionary rulers.

‘At no juncture of human history, have we witnessed such a long-term, savage and violent process of occupation as carried out by the Zionist criminals. Conversely, at few historical junctures have we seen such struggle and steadfastness by resistance groups against Israeli occupation.

‘These struggles will finally bear fruit and we will witness the liberation of the occupied territories in not-so-far future,’ the Leader’s aide said.

In a speech to mark the International Quds Day last Friday, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Israeli regime’s serious attempts to normalise ties with a few Arab countries, with the assistance of the US, is another sign of the regime’s decline.

‘Since the first day, the Zionists turned usurped Palestine into a terrorist base.

‘Israel is not a country, rather it is a terrorist camp against the Palestinian nation and other Muslim nations,’ the Leader said.

In September 2020, the United Arab Emirates was the first country to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel as part of an agreement brokered by former US President Donald Trump.

Bahrain also signed the accord with Israel, followed by Morocco and Sudan.

The deals sparked outrage across Muslim countries and throughout the world.

In defiance of global criticism, Trump also relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds in December 2017, calling the holy occupied city Israel’s ‘capital.’

Emboldened by Trump’s support, Israel intensified its acts of aggression against the Palestinians pressing ahead with its much-criticised policies, including construction of new settler units on occupied Palestinian land.

Another participant in Sunday’s webinar was Nasser Abu Sharif, who represents the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement in Iran.

Addressing the audience, Abu Sharif described normalisation of ties with Israel by some Arab regimes as the most dangerous issue for Muslims at the present time.

Muhammad Sharaf al-Din, the Great Mufti of Yemen, was another participant in the webinar. He noted that the cause of Palestine belongs to all Muslims, and slammed those Arab regimes who had normalised ties with the Zionist regime.

The Great Mufti of Yemen also reiterated the Yemeni people’s support for Palestinian cause and the Palestinian nation despite the all-out war and blockade launched against the country by the Saudi-led coalition since 2015.

The deputy head of the Islamic Jihad movement, Mohammed Al Hindi, also addressed the webinar, saying that all Arab nations will finally revolt against those Arab regimes that have normalised relations with Zionists.

He added that Israel is not a country, it merely consists of various criminal gangs that govern the occupied territories of Palestine.

Elsewhere in the webinar Khaled al-Qaddumi, the representative of the Palestine Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, noted that Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has lauded the Iranian government and nation for supporting the cause of Palestine.

Qaddumi slammed the Zionist regime for seeking to evict Palestinian families from their ancestral homes in Jerusalem including the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of the city, which has led to violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces over the past couple of days.

Qaddumi then condemned the Zionist regime for its plans to Judaize Jerusalem and other Palestinian territories.

He said: ‘Israel has crossed all red lines by desecrating the al-Aqsa mosque and killing Palestinian worshippers,’ and called for all Muslims to take a decisive stance against the Zionist regime’s aggression against Palestinians throughout the occupied territories.

Since the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the Israeli forces and illegal settlers have been roaming the city, chanting anti-Palestinian slogans and trying to prevent Palestinians from gathering and performing their religious duties. Early in the month, the Israeli regime also shut down the Damascus Gate of the Old City, further enraging Palestinians.

The provocations took a still more dangerous turn after the Israeli forces attacked Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in an attempt to evict them from their homes.

The regime had earlier issued them warnings that they had to evacuate their homes.

In the wake of Israel’s brutal raids, the European Union (EU) also called for an immediate de-escalation of the perilious situation in East Jerusalem.

Secretary General of the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on Saturday deplored a the violent Israeli assault on Palestinian worshippers in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, demanding the United Nations and international bodies must put an immediate end to the crimes of the ‘terrorist and fake’ Tel Aviv regime.