TEHRAN. — Israel has committed “genocide” in Gaza Strip, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday. “What Israeli authorities are doing (in Gaza) today is a genocide and a big historical disaster,” Khamenei said when addressing a huge crowd gathered to mark the festival of Eid al- Fitr at the end of fasting Muslim month of Ramadan.
The nations and the world peacemakers should demand the punishment of those who committed these crimes and those who were their supporters, Khamenei said, stressing that the passage of time should not affect this demand.
“The first and foremost issue of the Islamic world and, perhaps, humanity today is Gaza,” he said, adding that “a rabid dog and a rapacious wolf has attacked the oppressed people and the world should react to this.”
The resistance of Palestinians in Gaza, who are under blockade and deprived of water and power supplies, shows “the power of a nation” and this is “a big lesson,” he added.
The recent developments in Gaza show that the enemy is “regretful” about what it had done and it is strangled in a dilemma, so it seeks European and the US help to “impose cease-fire on the Gazans,” Kamenei said.
Earlier, senior Iranian officials said that any cease-fire in the war-ridden coastal enclave should meet the demands of the Palestinians in Gaza, which is an urge for the lifting of years-long siege on the Gaza Strip.
The Iranian leader rejected calls for disarming the Islamic militants in Gaza, saying that “the US president has issued a fatwa (decree) that the resistance should be disarmed so that they (militants) cannot respond to all the crimes (by Israel in Gaza). However . . . the world and the Islamic world, in particular, should help supply the Palestinian people (with arms).”
Khamenei said a week ago that the “armed resistance” was the only possible response to the atrocities of Israel against Palestinians.
“We believe that the (Palestinians) in the West Bank should also be armed like in Gaza . . . So that the agonies of the Palestinian people could be lessened as they get powerful and their enemy becomes weaker,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in an article posted on the website of the newspaper Folha de S Paulo, said, “I think what’s happening in the Gaza Strip is dangerous. I don’t think it’s genocide, but I think it’s a massacre”.
Israel’s fighting with Hamas has killed at least 1 050 Palestinians, many of them civilians. Israel says 52 of its soldiers have been killed in the conflict, along with three Israeli civilians.
Last week, Brazil recalled its ambassador from Israel, one of the first countries to do so. Israel’s Foreign Ministry expressed “disappointment” at that move in a statement on its website.
Israel embarked on a massive offensive on Hamas-ruled Gaza on July 8, saying it was aimed at stopping the rocket fire from the southern Palestinian enclave.
It later said that the purpose of the offensive is to destruct the underground network of cross- border tunnels, which enable militants to slip into Israel. — Xinhua/AP.