Iran calls for referendum in Palestine

May 7, 2021 - 21:41

TEHRAN – The Iranian Foreign Ministry has called for the settlement of a number of issues related to the Palestinian crisis, including the determination of Palestine’s future system based on a referendum attended by all main residents of Palestine.

In a statement on the occasion of the International Quds Day on Thursday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran believes the establishment of tranquility and lasting peace in Palestine will be possible only through the settlement of key issues associated with the Palestine crisis, including the cessation of occupation, the return of refugees, the determination of Palestine’s future system based on a referendum attended by all main residents of Palestine and finally the establishment of an integrated Palestinian government.”

The statement noted that Iran will continue to support the Palestinian people and stand up to Israeli “criminal occupiers.” It was issued to mark the International Quds Day which was designated by Imam Khomeini. The day is marked on the last Friday of Ramadan every year.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran insists on Tehran’s pressing ahead with its policy of supporting the Palestinian people’s liberation struggles and standing up to usurper and criminal occupiers, and calls on all world nations, especially the dignified and resistant people of Iran to participate in programs scheduled to honor the International Quds Day (May 07, 2021), asking all Muslim nations and governments to put pressure on superpowers as well as official and international authorities to make them fulfill their legal human responsibility of backing Palestinian people, ending the occupation, stopping the Israeli regime’s savage crimes in Bait-ul-Muqaddas and their acts of aggression plus tension-provoking moves in the region, and [all Muslim nations and governments] to keep the flame of resistance and struggles alive in order to preserve the voice of justice which calls for refusal to forgo Palestine,” the statement continued.

The Foreign Ministry praised Imam Khomeini’s decision to designate the Quds Day, calling it a historical initiative.

“Imam Khomeini’s everlasting and historical initiative of designating the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as the ‘International Quds Day’ has kept the cause of the liberation of Palestine alive and unmasked the Zionists’ tyranny and crimes against the defenseless Palestinian people,” the statement noted.

“Over the past years, the International Quds Day has turned into a symbol of fighting occupation and bullying among Muslims and all freedom-seekers across the world, and has played a unique role in thwarting the wicked and anti-human schemes of aggressors and bullies in the world such as the United States and Israel against Palestinian people,” it added.

“Today we keep the cause of International Quds Day alive at a time when the Israeli regime’s apartheid tyranny and crimes, as well as the violation of Palestinians’ rights, have intensified, and, by marking this day, Muslims and freedom-seekers around the world play an invaluable role in boosting the morale of Palestinian people and warding off the Israeli regime’s diabolical policies, especially its destruction of holy Quds and forcing its residents out of their homes,” said the statement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said that Iran has supported the Palestinian people and called for a plebiscite in Palestine, which he described as a democratic solution.

“Palestine is a yardstick for justice. Few measure up. But Iran has proudly stood with Palestinian people—who resist the brutality of an apartheid regime. Quds Day is yearly reminder of moral imperative of global solidarity for Palestine. Democratic Solution= Palestine Referendum,” the chief Iranian diplomat said on Twitter.

He also translated this tweet to other languages such as Arabic, Turkish and Russian.
The Iranian foreign minister also discussed the Palestine issue during a recent telephone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad. The conversation took place on Wednesday.

Zarif and Mekdad pointed to the International Quds Day, and once again stressed their all-out support for the Palestinian nation, according to a separate statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Palestine has been restive over the past few weeks due to Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem (al-Quds) and other parts of the West Bank.

Israeli authorities imposed new bans on the residents of East Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan, effectively preventing them from practicing their faith. To make things worse, Israeli authorities paved the way for extremist far-right Jews to stage anti-Arab marches. These extremists marched in the occupied Jerusalem chanting provocative slogans such as “death to Arabs,” something that enraged Palestinians and prompted them to launch what some observers called another Intifada which soon spread to other parts of Palestine, including the Gaza strip.

Hundreds of Palestinians were injured during the Israeli crackdown on them. Israel also bombed sites in Gaza.

The Palestinians are locked in a decades-long struggle against Israel to protect their cities and identity. They have staged countless demonstrations so far to make the world understand that Israel is an occupying force and that the Palestinians have the right to live in peace on their ancestral land.

Israel is also trying to evict the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah's neighborhood in the occupied East Jerusalem, a move that caused an international outcry and a surge in tensions in Palestine. 

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland issued a statement that he was “deeply concerned” by the violence in Palestine.

“I am deeply concerned by the surge in tensions and violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan,” the UN official said in a statement. “In the past few days alone, two Palestinians, including a woman and a child, were killed in separate incidents, by Israeli security forces (ISF) in the context of clashes or attacks.”

He also said that the latest developments related to the eviction of Palestine families in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods in the occupied East Jerusalem are also very worrying.

“I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” Wennesland said. 

Jordan, a neighboring Arab country directly affected by developments in Palestine, called for immediate action to stop the eviction of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah. 

“We urge effective, swift international action to prevent the crime of evicting Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah,” Ayman Safadi, Jordanian foreign minister, said on Twitter. 

According to Safadi, Palestinians threatened with eviction in Sheikh Jarrah are the rightful owners of their homes as documents provided by Jordan to PNA [Palestinian National Authority] and home owners prove beyond doubt.

“As the occupying power, Israel is legally responsible for ensuring these ownership rights are protected,” Safadi said, adding, “Israeli illegal & provocative measures in occupied Jerusalem, including the inhumane threat of eviction of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah from their homes, are pushing tension to dangerous limits. Jerusalem is a red line. This is playing with fire.” 

Safadi also welcomed a statement by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK urging Israel to stop settlement-building in the occupied West Bank. 

“We urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the joint European statement said.

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