In remarks delivered to Shi’ite faithful in Iran this week, the nation’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called on “anyone who cares about the fate of Palestine” to provide arms to Palestinians to kill Israelis. “Total armed resistance” against Israel was “the only solution,” he announced, to the unstable situation in Gaza.
According to Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, Khamenei told an audience that “the only way to deal with this savage regime is to continue resistance and armed struggle and extend it to the West Bank.” In comments translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Khamenei expands on this message, arguing that Israel’s existence is enough of an aggression to trigger only armed resistance from the rest of the Middle East.
“From the day of its illegitimate birth, the Zionist regime laid the foundations for overt violence,” he claims. “They laid the foundations for the iron first.” To ecstatic shouts of “Allahu akbar,” Khamenei adds, “the only solution is to destroy the regime.” While he magnanimously adds that destroying Israel “does not mean the annihilation of the Jewish people in that region,” he does not explain the difference between taking up arms against the people of Israel for living in that area and “annihilation” of the Jewish people.” Instead, he continues to call for a “total armed resistance” against the Jewish people of Israel.
Khamenei continues by suggesting that those who do not provide weapons to the terrorist group Hamas and Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank simply do not care about the lives of Palestinians. “Anyone who cares about the fate of Palestine … should provide arms to the people of the West Bank, too,” he concludes, also to cheers and applause.
The Ayatollah’s violent comments fuel the belief by many supporting Israel that Iran is actively providing military assistance to Hamas and that much of Hamas’ terrorism is aided by the use of Iranian ammunition. A report published earlier this month suggests Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer told a group of pro-Israel officials he has reason to believe many of the missiles being aimed out of Gaza at Tel Aviv were paid for by Iran, as well as a “considerable arsenal” of weapons being hidden in mosques, schools, and United Nations buildings in the region. Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren echoed similar fears of Iran’s efforts to destroy Israel, warning that the nation may turn on Israel overtly once nuclear talks in Vienna expire.