In some of his harshest criticism so far of the war in Gaza, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized Israel’s policy of “exterminating” Palestinians and called its actions “genocide.”
During an Aug. 4 speech at the Committee for Palestine at the Non-Aligned Movement, Rouhani said, “I hope this meeting is a valued opportunity to review the current developments in occupied Palestine, especially the situation in Gaza, and for all the members to find practical ways to assist these brave and oppressed people imprisoned in a colonial ring.”
He continued, “Unfortunately, the Zionist regime, during the last few weeks and during Ramadan, trampling the principles of humanity and international law … and using the most advanced weapons in an unjust and disproportionate war, has severely and mercilessly attacked Palestinian land and the Gaza Strip.
“The violent invasion of the child-killing regime is true to the form of its deliberate and planned permanent policy, meaning the killing and genocide of a people by widespread and open killing of civilians and destroying civilian centers.
“Under such conditions, the lack of action and the passive reaction of international organizations, especially the United Nations Security Council, in applying pressure to the Zionist regime to stop the inhuman crimes has brought the audacity and boldness of the Zionist regime to the point that it even prevents the sending of humanitarian aid, food, medicine and medical equipment to Gaza.
“The Non-Aligned Movement, as an international assembly, with its plentiful capacities and abilities can and should, in the direction of real peace and social justice, take strong and fundamental steps in line with the inalienable rights of the oppressed people of Palestine.” He suggested that the members of the Non-Aligned Movement apply pressure to the UN Security Council to immediately stop the Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Rouhani continued, “It’s been more than six decades that the Palestinian people have been deprived of their basic rights and are under the most intense pressure, and suffer under the barbaric Zionist regime.
“We view the current crisis in Gaza as a part of the fixed and continuous policies of the occupying regime and the crimes of the Zionists, whose goal the gradual extermination and removal of the Palestinian identity by changing the demographics and geography of Palestinian land, especially Jerusalem, and to create illegal Jewish settlements in occupied land.”
Rouhani said that Iran's position is that the solution to the crisis in Palestine is “ending the occupation of all occupied territories and granting self-determination to the Palestinian people and the return of all the refugees … and forming a united Palestinian government with Jerusalem as its capital.”
He recommended that “all the people and historic residents” participate in a referendum. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had also recommended a referendum for Israelis and Palestinians to determine the government that would rule them. The supreme leader, however, viewed this event as unlikely, and has recommended arming the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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