Iran’s supreme leader rejected the Palestinians’ U.N. statehood bid on Saturday, saying any deal that accepted the existence of Israel would leave a “cancerous tumor” forever threatening the security of the Middle East.
As leader of a country under a long-standing threat of military action from Israel and the United States, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the Jewish state and its allies to expect “paralyzing blows” that a NATO missile shield could not prevent.
“Any plan that seeks to divide Palestine is totally rejected,” Khamenei told a conference on the Palestinian issue.
“The two-state scheme, which has been clad in the self-righteousness of the acceptance of the Palestinian government and membership at the United Nations, is nothing but a capitulation to the demands of the Zionists or the recognition of the Zionist regime on Palestinian land,” he declared.
“It goes without saying that the Palestinian people, as they did in Gaza, will create a state... on any liberated Palestinian land,” Khamenei said.
“But the ultimate goal is to liberate all of Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea.”
“We do not propose a conventional war by Islamic countries, throwing the Jews into the sea or arbitration by the U.N. and other international bodies,” but a “referendum by (indigenous) Palestinians” regardless of religion but excluding Jews who have immigrated, Khamenei said.
Israel’s U.S. ally has vowed to veto the Palestinian request for full U.N. membership, now being discussed by a U.N. Security Council panel, if it goes to a vote.
Khamenei’s speech underlined Iran’s support for groups that oppose Israel, including Hamas, the Islamist faction which rules the Gaza Strip and which rejected the U.N. bid presented by President Mahmoud Abbas as “begging” for statehood.
The 72-year-old cleric also sought to portray Iran as the greatest defender of the Palestinian cause, criticizing other countries in the region that have close ties to Washington. Two of these, Egypt and Jordan, have recognized Israel.
“Governments that host Zionist embassies or economic bureaus cannot advocate support for Palestine,” he said in comments aimed, among others, at post-Mubarak Egypt with which Tehran is seeking to restore the diplomatic ties cut since 1979.
While Washington seeks to accelerate a return to Israel-Palestinian talks in order to avoid a vote on statehood, Khamenei mocked Barack Obama’s support for Israel as a cynical ploy to retain the U.S. presidency at next year’s election.
“In order to remain in power you have surrendered to humiliation and to the Zionists,” he said.
Iran is pursuing a nuclear program that the United States and Israel say aims to produce atomic bombs, a charge it denies.
Both countries say they do not rule out pre-emptive strikes on Iran to stop it getting the bomb. Tehran says it would hit back at Israel and U.S. interests in the region and analysts say it could use allies, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, to retaliate.
“The West must either give up its bullying policies and recognize the Palestinians’ rights and avoid pursuing the Zionist regime’s bullying schemes. Otherwise it will face harsher blows in the near future,” Khamenei said.
He said a NATO early-warning radar system being deployed to protect the Western alliance from attacks by countries including Iran would be ineffective.
“What threatens the Zionist regime is not Iran’s missiles or the resistance, under the pretext of which they have set up the missile shield in the region.
“The main threat comes from the determination of those who no longer want America, Europe or their lackeys to rule over them. Of course (our) missiles will carry out their duties any time they feel a threat stemming from the enemy.”
In August, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the potential recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations should only be a “step forward” towards “full liberation.”
The U.N. Security Council on September 23 took up the request for full recognition of a Palestinian state over the vehement opposition of Israel and the United States.
The conference is being attended by parliamentarians from some 20 nations and figures including Khaled Meshaal, exiled political chief of the group, and Ramadan Abdullah, secretary general of Islamic Jihad.