Palestine from the viewpoint of Imam Khomeini [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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its backbone - which inflicted a serious blow to its international standing. Internal
differences in the organisation began on 9 May 1983 with a rebellion within Fatah in the
Beqaa valley. Fatah opponents of Arafat under the command of Colonel Abu Musa and Abu
Saleh, members of the PLO Central Council and the Fatah Revolutionary Council, with the
support and encouragement of Syria, rebelled against Arafat and demanded a reconsideration
of Fatahs political policy and an improvement in relations with Libya, Syria and
Algeria.

This rebellion resulted in a bloody confrontation between supporters
and opponents of Arafat, a confrontation which ended with the expulsion of Arafat and his
followers from Lebanon. They left Tripoli for Yemen, Tunisia and Algeria aboard five Greek
ships flying the UN flag and protected by the French navy. From the very beginning the
Fatah rebels were supported by left-wing factions who were themselves supported by Libya
and Syria. The backing of these two countries for Arafats opponents led to the PLO
chairman developing closer ties than ever with Jordan and Egypt (whose own relations with
Syria and Libya were strained). From then on new branches were created in the organisation
amongst them the Intifada Fatah Organisation, under the leadership of Abu Musa, which was
a wing of the Fatah organisation.

The explosion at the US marine and French contingent headquarters in
Beirut (23 October 1983)


The invasion of Lebanon on 6 June 1982, during which Israeli forces
pushed through the country to the outskirts of Beirut, opened the way for the deployment
of multi-national forces (American, French and Italian). As the invasion commenced, the
Zionists announced that their objective was to establish a security zone 40-45 kilometres
inside Lebanese territory. However it soon became clear that what they were really after
was to drive all Palestinian forces from the country and install a regime in Beirut that
would conclude a peace treaty with it. To this end the Israeli forces advanced on West
Beirut where the PLO was based. The city was subjected to heavy bombardment and water and
electricity supplies were severed as were supplies of food and fuel. During the 63-day
siege of West Beirut thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese were brutally massacred
provoking condemnation from the international community but no practical attempts to stop
the slaughter.

Eventually the PLO was forced to agree to a withdrawal of its forces
from Lebanon. Evacuation began on 22 August under the supervision of a multi-national
force comprising 800 French and US troops and 400 Italian soldiers. The last of the 8144
PLO commandos, 3500 Syrian-controlled Palestine Liberation Army troops and 2700 Syrian
soldiers left West Beirut on 1 September 1982 having secured a solemn promise from the US
that Palestinian civilians would be protected after the fighters had withdrawn. However,
after completing its task, the American contingent of the multi-national force which, in
accordance with the explicit American commitment, was obliged to safeguard the civilian
population as well, withdrew, two weeks before its original mandate ran out, forcing the
French and Italians to also pull out and effectively terminating the multi-national
commitment to protect the civilians.

Following the assassination on 14 September of Bashir Gemayel, the
Lebanese President-elect, Israeli troops moved into West Beirut ostensibly to کmaintain
order. Two days later atrocious massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese
right-wing militiamen took place in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in areas now under
Israeli military control and without any Israeli attempt to prevent them.

US marines returned to Lebanon on 20 September 1982 as part of an
international peacekeeping force with similar Italian, French and much smaller British
contingents. On 29 September 1982 the Israelis left Beirut.

After the Israelis withdrawal from the Shouf region of Lebanon the
following year on 3 September 1983, their positions were taken up by the Phalange militia
and the Lebanese army. This led to fighting between them and the Druze-PLO alliance. The
United States and France intervened with warplanes and warships on the side of the
Lebanese army. A cease-fire was mediated by Saudi Arabia on 25 September, but the US
continued its reconnaissance missions over west-central Lebanon from its aircraft
carriers. On 23 October 1983 the multi-national forces in Lebanon became the target of a
suicide attack by revolutionaries from the Islamic Jihad Organisation. The headquarters of
the US Marines in Beirut was blown up followed six minutes later by the French military
headquarters. In all 241 US marines and 59 French paratroopers were killed.

This attack constituted one of the heaviest military and political
blows the American forces had sustained since the Vietnamese war and the French since
their war with Algeria. In addition to destroying the power and might of the
multi-national forces in Lebanon and lifting the fear they had created for the Muslim and
progressive forces by their presence, the attack strengthened the spirit of resistance and
struggle in the Muslims, the Lebanese revolutionaries and the Palestinians.

On 7 February 1984 the US withdrew its troops from Beirut. The other
members of the Western MNF followed suit.

The Camp Wars


From 19 May 1985 until early 1987 a one and a half year war broke out
between the Amal movement, a Lebanese Shiite organisation, and Palestinian guerrillas in
Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, resulting in the siege of the two sides camps. The
repercussions of this war were intense, the unity of the Palestinians was affected and
differences among the Palestinian organisations aggravated.

The Amal organisation strongly opposed the Palestinian presence in
Lebanon and viewed it as an incitement to Israeli attacks against the country especially
since this presence, and the fact that many Palestinian operations against the Zionists
were launched from Lebanese soil, had provided the excuse for the 1982 Israeli invasion of
Lebanon. Although the Palestinians sympathised with Amals position, they argued that
they needed help to return to their homeland.

The dispute resulted in bloody clashes between the Palestinians and an
important section of the Shiite forces in Lebanon, a dispute which served only the
interests of the Quds-occupying regime. The different Palestinian factions adopted a
common stand against Amal, but the Fatah intifada organisation, which harboured the most
hostility towards Arafat, the Fatah leader, blamed him for the continuation of the camp
wars saying he was encouraging them in order to bring himself out of political isolation.
Within the Amal organisation too, criticism and uncertainty over the leadership centring
around its performance and the stances adopted by it resulted in the formation of new,
more militant groups.

And so the events which took place in Lebanon from the early 1980s
onwards led to a general purging of the battle front against Israel of impurities. This
process, which was greatly affected by the experience of the Islamic revolution in Iran,
ended with the most genuine and unyielding of the forces - who viewed the struggle with
Israel to be an Islamic duty - finding a new relentlessness and power and becoming the
staunchest opponents of conciliatory moves. And up until the present, it is these forces
which have created serious setbacks for the realisation of US and Israeli hopes and plans.

The birth and development of groups such as the Hizbullah in Lebanon is
the most obvious manifestation of this process. The large volume of propaganda produced by
the enemy against these groups and the machinations devised against them are proof of the
fear and alarm which have come to prevail over the enemy camp.

It is clear that regardless of the slight possibility of transient
success for the conciliatory plans one can be certain that the sowing of the seeds of
Islamic resistance in Lebanon has borne fruit and as long as the domestic fronts of
resistance in the occupied territories have the endurance and strength needed, then the
enemys failure will be serious.

The advent of the intifada or the uprising of the Palestinian
people


Introduction: What is certain is that the Islamic resurgence movement,
which had entered a new phase with the struggles of Sayyid Jamal al-Din Asadabadi in the
Islamic countries and also with the Tobacco Movement in Iran, was continued by Muhammad
Abduh and Sayyid Qutb in Egypt, resulted in the uprising of the Muslims against the
British in India, was continued in Pakistan by Iqbal Lahori, and brought about the
revolution in Algeria in 1962. The revolution in Iran in the late 70s was also a
continuation of this movement.

The two decades before the Iranian revolution were a period of
stagnation for the Islamic resurgence movement in the Islamic countries. The reason for
this was two-fold. On the one side this ideological movement was subdued by oppressive
governments which held sway over the Islamic countries, forcing priority to be accorded to
political action and political struggle against oppression and dictatorship and less
attention being paid to theoretics and the propagation of the resurgence as a result. And
on the other, this movement was overshadowed by the phenomenon of Arab nationalism during
the years preceding the revolution in Iran, a phenomenon which itself gave rise to other
factors - among them the creation of the Baath party in Iraq and Syria by the
Christian, Michel Aflaq, which became the most powerful political party in the Middle East
region - which, with the creation of the government of Israel and the ensuing Arab-Israeli
wars, were instrumental in turning the solution to the Palestinian problem into a purely
Arab issue.

The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was a watershed in the Islamic
resurgence movement. On the one hand it breathed new life into the movement while on the
other it gave it a political content which it had hitherto lacked. For until the Iranian
revolution, the Islamic resurgence movement had been an ideological-cultural movement, one
of religious scholasticism whose call was for a return to the self, the Islamic identity
and the values which all the Islamic nations shared. It was only natural then that the
message of the Islamic revolution in Iran would move the Muslims and excite their
sentiments, that the positions adopted by the Leader of the Revolution, Imam Khomeini,
would be the focus of attention of the Muslim combatants around the world, including the
Palestinian fighters, and that Islamic fundamentalism would be revived.

Before the revolution in Iran the Muslim Palestinians were bound
together by the ties of their Arab nationality, Islam being relegated to second place.
This is why Palestinians of different beliefs: Islamic, Christian or Marxist, came
together in one group or organisation. With the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran,
belief that the power of Islam could unite and bring victory gained strength, and Islam
once again excited the attention of the Muslim combatants. Links between the Islamic
revolution movement in Iran and Palestine were forged long before the victory on the
common battle fronts against Israel, and Iranian guerrillas often went to Palestinian
bases where they underwent training to help them in their struggle against the Shah.
Indeed, many years previously Imam Khomeini had given permission for a third of sahm-i
imam, zakat and khums monies to be used to support the Palestinian
movement.

The slogan کToday Iran, Tomorrow Palestine" which was shouted in
the thick of the revolution, struck fear into the hearts of the Zionists and offered hope
to the Palestinians. The best evidence of this is to be found in the statements made by
Palestinian leaders and members of the PLOs Central Council concerning the Islamic
revolution and Imam Khomeini during the early years of the revolution, statements which
were carried in the domestic and foreign press. For further reference refer to volume five
of the anthology Sahifa-yi Nur which covers the talks held between Palestinian
leaders and Imam Khomeini.

The struggle with Israel was not limited to the Iranian revolution
movement. Before the victory of the revolution in Iran, the Eastern bloc powers under the
leadership of Russia and also some progressive countries put on a show of supporting the
Palestinians. However, this support stemmed from the conflict of interests and the rivalry
which existed between the world powers and at its best advocated the right for the
Palestinian nation to exist. None of these powers opposed the existence of Israel, on the
contrary they formally recognised it but considered it an aggressor country. The Islamic
revolution of Iran and Imam Khomeini were, on the other hand, opposed to the very basis of
the existence of the Zionist regime as a country. The saw it as a usurper and considered
the perpetuation of the Zionist government in any shape or form to mean the perpetuation
of conflict in Islamic lands. And it was this thinking which carried the sense of national
and religious pride amongst the Palestinians to new heights and caused a surge in Islamic
awakening, while at the same time striking fear into the hearts of Israel and its
supporters.

Intifada: another link in the chain of Islamic resurgence


In November 1987, a summit of the Arab League was held in Amman, and
unlike on other occasions, no stance was adopted on the struggle against the Zionist
regime. In this conference, all attention was directed at the war between Iran and Iraq,
and on the whole it progressed along lines favourable with the Camp David agreement.

For years the Palestinian refugees had waited for the Arab nation (umma)
to deliver them from their homelessness while those in the occupied lands had sat back
expecting the Arab governments to act. However, the preoccupation of the Palestinian
groups and parties with their continuous differences and splits, along with the obvious
indifference on the part of the Arab regimes to the Palestinian plight, dashed all hope of
effective action ever being taken on their behalf or of the efficaciousness of Arab
nationalism. Consequently, attention was turned to Islam and action from within, which the
victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran had shown to be successful.

It was under such circumstances that agents of the Saudi government
killed pilgrims visiting the House of God. In this bloody tragedy, more than 400 pilgrims,
ten of whom were from the occupied territories in Palestine, were slaughtered for the
crime of expressing their disavowal of pagans and shouting death to America and Israel.
Ceremonies for those martyred were held in Ramallah and al-Khalil (Hebron) and in other
occupied areas of Palestine.

These events formed the basis of a new kind of uprising and struggle
against Israel that was started in Autumn 1987 by the residents of the occupied lands: the
intifada. Intifada in a word means uprising; it stems from the Arabic word
meaning to shudder, to shake off, like a wet bird shaking off the drops of water that lie
heavy on its feathers in order to lighten its wings for flight, or an uprising which
shakes off the impurities in order to ascend to new heights. Hitherto each uprising (intifada)
had been connected to a certain group, such as the uprising in Fatah during which, in May
1983, a group calling itself the Fatah Intifada - to distinguish itself from the main
Fatah group under the leadership of Arafat - broke off from the main Fatah organisation.
This time, however, in 1987, intifada had no prefixes or suffixes, it was simply
the intifada, the uprising of the people in protest at the continued occupation of
Palestinian lands. This movement had the following aims and results:

1 - It brought the Palestinian issue back from the brink of oblivion.

2 - It attracted the attention of world public opinion.

3 - It occurred simultaneously with the wave of Islamic resurgence in
the region, which lent it a special attractive quality.

4 - It emphasised the need to find a solution to the Palestinian
problem.

5 - It made western Europe attempt to get closer to the Palestinian
issue.

6 - It cast doubt on the soundness of Israels policy, even amongst
the American Jews, in such a way as to cause a number to come to believe that in order to
prevent Israels image from becoming even more tarnished (after the Zionist forces
reprisals for the uprising of the people) concessions must be given to the Palestinians.

7 - It created a threat to the internal security of the Zionist entity.

8 - The differences of the Palestinian groups were overshadowed and
they began co-operating, and the governments and organisations, which had hitherto
determined the fate of Palestine along lines conducive to their own interests, were forced
this time to follow the lead of the people.

For the first time, after more than 40 years of occupation and Zionist
rule, the Palestinians were on the offensive and the Israelis on the defensive.

A comparison of the characteristics of the intifada with those
of the Islamic revolution in Iran


In some aspects, the intifada movement is very similar to the
Islamic revolution movement in Iran, notably in the fact that it did not stem from one
particular group or organisation. One of the characteristics of the Islamic revolution
movement in Iran was that before its culmination, different Islamic, non-Islamic and
nationalist organisations and individuals of various ideological leanings struggled
against the Shahs regime and each one believed the future of the revolutionary movement
to lie in their hands. When on 17 January 1978, in demonstrations protesting against the
publication of a calumnious article about Imam Khomeini in the Ittilaat newspaper,
a number of people in Qum were martyred, a chain reaction was started. Ceremonies marking
the seventh and fortieth days after their martyrdom were held in Tehran, Tabriz and other
cities, each one of which turned into a demonstration which resulted in clashes and the
martyrdom of a number of other people. This in turn set the stage for further seventh and
fortieth day ceremonies and consequently further demonstrations. By the latter half of the
year, the demonstrations had become a national uprising which all the political groups:
the Marxists, nationalists and religious groups of different leanings, joined in. No one
had expected such a large scale uprising of the people to have taken place without the
intervention of some political group or another.

All groups joined the ranks of the people, and pictures and drawings of
different personalities were held up. However, that which was important for the people in
general and was a unifying factor in the uprising was the common aim: the overthrow of the
Shah, and, as the slogans and demands of the people showed, the prevailing tendency of the
movement was towards Islam, since Islam was and is the religion of the majority of people
in Iran. The intifada movement had precisely the same characteristics.

Many opinions have been expressed about the intifada, opinions
which only future events can verify. What can be claimed with some certainty is that the
spontaneous and popular nature of the intifada was its most salient feature and its
most dominant was its Islamic aspect. It is this which struck fear into the hearts of the
Israelis.

The arrest and imprisonment of Shaykh Ahmad Yasin in the first few
months of the intifada, stemmed from this fear, and the expulsion and sending into
exile of 415 Palestinians from the occupied territories in December 1992 was done with the
aim of stamping out the intifada. Those expelled were mainly committed Muslims who
supported Hamas and were considered by the Zionists to be the leaders of the uprising. On
the one hand, this move is demonstrative of the Islamic aspect of the intifada,
while on the other it shows that it was an uprising of the people which lacked complete
dependence on any group or party, even Hamas, for after the expulsions not only did the
movement continue, but a short time later more than 300 Palestinians from the occupied
territories were either killed or injured in a confrontation with Israeli forces. This
shows that the uprising was a spontaneous, popular one, not one organised by a group or
party, and leadership of it found its way into every home.

The prolonged continuation (1987-93) of the uprising shows that even if
certain people had played a role in setting it off, they were not necessarily needed for
it to keep its momentum. The intifada did not have a centralised political command
and no one particular organisation formed its central nervous system; all the
organisations were its followers and supporters and each one strove to direct its modus
operandi. Each one of the Palestinian organisations spoke as if command of the intifada
lay in their hands, however one should remember that most of them were based outside
Palestine in Tunisia, Syria or Jordan. The people in Palestine heeded their words and
acted towards achieving the common aim they shared with them i.e. freeing the occupied
territories from Israeli occupation, however it did not mean that had all these
organisations withdrawn their support the intifada would have ceased to be.

Another similarity between the intifada movement and that of the
Islamic revolution in Iran, which was seen for the first time in the history of the
Palestinian struggle, was the use of the mosques and Friday Prayer ceremonies as bases for
demonstrations. The struggle of the Palestinians has always depended on guerrilla
operations, weapons and organisation, during the intifada, however, Palestinian
women and children were active in a striking way, and fists, sticks and stones were used
against bullets. This time the struggle was dubbed کthe revolution of stones or the
کuprising of the stone-wielding youth. The desire for martyrdom and the willingness
to forgo ones life, weapons which have no likeness, no substitute and no equal, were
other important characteristics of the intifada movement.

Another point to note is that the intifada was a reaction of the
people to the failure of the different methods of struggle adopted by many and thought to
hold the key to the Arabs problems. These included Arab nationalism - which reached its
peak at the time of Nasser but which in recent years has lost its appeal - and communism
and leftist tendencies which received a fatal blow with the break up of the Soviet Union.
Eventually, after all the roads the Palestinian movement had travelled down came to a dead
end, the conclusion was reached that Islam was the only solution. The path that political
philosophies could not find, arriving mostly at defeat, surrender and compromise instead,
is being sought through Islam today, and it is a path which will return the follower کto
the self, and one that is now pursued not in Palestine alone but through the surge of
Islamic awakening witnessed in all the Islamic and Arab countries.

In the past, Islamic resurgence had only ideological and cultural
aspects, but with the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 under the
leadership of Imam Khomeini - as a religious scholar and marja-i taqlid (sole
source of religious guidance) - a political and practical dimension was added. The
Palestinian struggle, which was for years characterised by its political and military

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