Palestinians burn an Israeli flag during a protest in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI |
Feb. 5 (UPI) — Iranian head of state Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday wholly rejected the Mideast peace plan by President Donald Trump that calls for a Palestinian state, but allows Israelis to remain in disputed lands — and encouraged other opponents to do likewise.
Khamenei made the remarks to a crowd of Iranians in Tehran, saying Trump’s controversial plan has no chance of attracting Palestinian support — and will die even before the 73-year-old American leader will.
“The Americans are taking comfort in the belief that choosing a big name for the plot against the Palestinian nation will help it to succeed,” Khamenei said, calling on armed Palestinians to oppose Israel and pledging Iranian support for the fighters “in whatever manner and to whatever extent [we] can.”
Later, Khamenei said Palestinians worldwide must take back their land, through jihad if necessary.
“They will try to further their plot with bribes, weapons, and enticements,” he said of the United States. “What’s the remedy? It is bold resistance by the Palestinian nation and groups in order to force out the Zionist enemy and the U.S. through jihad. All Muslim nations and the world of Islam must support them too.”
Jihad is an Arabic word meaning “struggling” or “striving,” and is used to encourage virtually any effort to influence desired Islamic change. The term is most often used by Islamic extremists as a call to change through armed aggression.
Trump’s peace plan last week called for a two-state solution and a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, but it allows Israel to annex disputed lands and settlements that Palestinians and the United Nations consider to be occupied territory.
The Palestinians have long demanded that any future border with Israel should be detailed on pre-1967 maps before Israel took certain territory by force and Jerusalem as its capital.
Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the proposal as the most “realistic” path to Palestinian statehood, but the idea was quickly rejected by Palestinian authorities.