The Ayatollah’s Plan for Israel
By Amir Taheri
July 31, 2015
flagbearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem."
This is how
the blurb of "Palestine," a new book, published by Islamic Revolution
Editions last week in Tehran, identifies the author.
The author is
"Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Husseini Khamenei," the "Supreme
Guide" of the Islamic Republic in Iran, a man whose fatwa has been
recognized by U.S. President Barack Obama as having the force of law.
Saeed Solh-Mirzai, the 416-page book has received approval from Khamenei's
office and is thus the most authoritative document regarding his position on the
his position clear from the start: Israel has no right to exist as a
He uses three
words. One is "nabudi" which means "annihilation".
The other is "imha" which means "fading out," and,
finally, there is "zaval" meaning "effacement."
claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on
anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon.
is based on "well-established Islamic principles", he claims.
One such is
that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded
to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is control of a land's government, even if
the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims. Khomeinists are not alone in this
Dozens of maps
circulate in the Muslim world, showing the extent of Muslim territories lost to
the infidel that must be recovered. These include large parts of Russia and
Europe, almost a third of China, the whole of India and parts of the Philippines
according to Khamenei, Israel, which he labels as "adou" and
"doshman," meaning "enemy" and "foe," is a
special case for three reasons. The first is that it is a loyal "ally of
the American Great Satan" and a key element in its "evil scheme"
to dominate "the heartland of the Ummah."
reason is that Israel has waged war on Muslims on a number of occasions, thus
becoming a "hostile infidel" ("kaffir al-harbi").
Israel is a special case because it occupies Jerusalem, which Khamenei describes
as "Islam's third Holy City." He intimates that one of his "most
cherished wishes" is to one day pray in Jerusalem.
insist that he is not recommending "classical wars" to wipe Israel off
the map. Nor does he want to "massacre the Jews." What he recommends
is a long period of low-intensity warfare designed to make life unpleasant if
not impossible for a majority of Israeli Jews so that they leave the country.
calculation is based on the assumption that large numbers of Israelis have
dual-nationality and would prefer emigration to the United States or Europe to
daily threats of death.
no reference to Iran's nuclear program. But the subtext is that a nuclear-armed
Iran would make Israel think twice before trying to counter Khamenei's strategy
by taking military action against the Islamic Republic.
analysis, once the cost of staying in Israel has become too high for many Jews,
Western powers, notably the U.S., which has supported the Jewish state for
decades, might decide that the cost of doing so is higher than possible
President Obama, the U.S. has already distanced itself from Israel to a degree
unimaginable a decade ago.
counts on what he sees as "Israel fatigue." The international
community would start looking for what he calls "a practical and logical
mechanism" to end the old conflict.
"practical and logical mechanism" excludes the two-state formula in
solution is a one-state formula," he declares. That state, to be called
Palestine, would be under Muslim rule but would allow non-Muslims, including
some Israeli Jews who could prove "genuine roots" in the region, to
stay as "protected minorities."
Khamenei's scheme, Israel plus the West Bank and Gaza would revert to the United
Nations' mandate for a brief period during which a referendum would be held to
create the new state of Palestine.
Palestinians and their descendants, wherever they are, would be able to vote,
while Jews "who have come from other places" would be excluded.
not mention any figures for possible voters in his dream referendum. But studies
by the Foreign Ministry in Tehran suggest that at least eight million
Palestinians across the globe would be able to vote, against 2.2 million Jews
"acceptable" as future second-class citizens of the new Palestine.
Thus, the "Supreme Guide" is certain of the results of his proposed
He does not
make clear whether the Kingdom of Jordan, which is located in 80 percent of
historic Palestine, would be included in his one-state scheme. However, a
majority of Jordanians, who are of Palestinian extraction, would be able to vote
in the referendum and, logically, become citizens of the new Palestine.
boasts about the success of his plans to make life impossible for Israelis
through terror attacks from Lebanon and Gaza. His latest scheme is to recruit
"fighters" in the West Bank to set-up Hezbollah-style units.
intervened in anti-Israel matters, and it brought victory in the 33-day war by
Hezbollah against Israel in 2006 and in the 22-day war between Hamas and Israel
in the Gaza Strip," he boasts.
describes Israel as "a cancerous tumor" whose elimination would mean
that "the West's hegemony and threats will be discredited" in the
Middle East. In its place, he boasts, "the hegemony of Iran will be
book also deals with the Holocaust, which he regards either as "a
propaganda ploy" or a disputed claim. "If there was such a
thing," he writes, "we don't know why it happened and how."
been in contact with professional Holocaust deniers since the 1990s. In 2000, he
invited Swiss Holocaust-denier Jürgen Graf to Tehran and received him in
private audiences. French Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy, a Stalinist who
converted to Islam, was also feted in Tehran as "Europe's' greatest living
It was with
Khamenei's support that former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad set up a
"Holocaust-research center" led by Muhammad-Ali Ramin, an Iranian
functionary with links to German neo-Nazis who also organized annual "End
of Israel" seminars.
efforts to disguise his hatred of Israel in Islamic terms, the book makes it
clear that Khamenei is more influenced by Western-style anti-Semitism than by
classical Islam's checkered relations with Jews.
about territories becoming "irrevocably Islamic" does not wash, if
only because of its inconsistency. He has nothing to say about vast chunks of
former Islamic territory, including some that belonged to Iran for millennia,
now under Russian rule.
Nor is he
ready to embark on Jihad to drive the Chinese out of Xinjiang, a Muslim khanate
until the late 1940s.
in terms of territory accounts for one per cent of Saudi Arabia, is a very small
shedding of tears for "the sufferings of Palestinian Muslims" are also
unconvincing. To start with, not all Palestinians are Muslims. And, if it were
only Muslim sufferers who deserved sympathy, why doesn't the "Supreme
Guide" beat his chest about the Burmese Rohingya and the Chechens massacred
and enchained by Vladimir Putin, not to mention Muslims daily killed by
fellow-Muslims across the globe?
At no point in
these 416 pages does Khamenei even mention the need to take into account the
views of either Israelis or Palestinians regarding his miracle recipe. What if
Palestinians and Israelis wanted a two-state solution?
What if they
chose to sort out their problems through negotiation and compromise rather than
the "wiping-off-the-map" scheme of he proposes?
reveals his ignorance of Islamic traditions when he designates Jerusalem as
"our holy city." As a student of Islamic theology, he should know that
"holy city" and "holy land" are Christian concepts that have
no place in Islam.
In Islam, the
adjective "holy" is reserved only for Allah and cannot apply to
anything or anyone else. The Koran itself is labeled "al-Majid"
(Glorious) and is not a holy book as is the Bible for the Christians.
"Supreme Guide" should know that Mecca is designated as "al-Mukarramah"
(the Generous) and Medina as "al-Munawwarah" (the Enlightened).
Even the Shi'ite shrine cities of Iraq are not labeled "muqqaddas"
(holy). Najaf is designated as "al-Ashraf" (the Most Noble) and
Karbala as "al-Mualla" (the Sublime).
In the early
days of his mission, the Prophet Muhammad toyed with the idea of making
Jerusalem the focal point of prayers for Islam. He soon abandoned the idea and
adopted his hometown of Mecca, where the black cube (kaabah) had been a
magnet for pilgrims for centuries before Islam. For that reason, some classical
Muslim writers refer to Jerusalem as "the discarded one" (al-yarmiyah)
like a first wife who is replaced by a new favorite. In the 11th
century, the Shiite Fatimid Caliph, Al-Hakim, even ordered the destruction of
Israel-Palestine issue is not a religious one. It is a political conflict about
territory, borders, sharing of water resources and security. Those who, like
Khamenei, try to inject a dose of religious enmity into this already complex
cocktail deserve little sympathy.