Palestine was among former Ottoman territories placed under UK administration by the League of Nations in 1922. The British Mandate incorporated the “Balfour Declaration” of 1917, expressing support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. During the Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, large-scale Jewish immigration, mainly from Eastern Europe took place, the numbers swelling in the 1930s with the Nazi persecution. Benefiting from false and inapplicable slogans like “A land without a people for a people without a land”, and US absolute support, these large migrations, coinciding with plunder of Palestinian properties and infringement of their essential rights by the occupiers, finally resulted in the establishment of the Zionist regime.

Following the illegal acts of Britain during the trusteeship period, in 1948 the Zionist regime was recognised by the United States and later by other countries such as the former Soviet Union, whereas the people of the territory of Palestine were never consulted about their fate. In fact, the Zionist regime was established without allowing the native population of the territory of Palestine to exercise their right to self-determination.

The measures that led to the formation of the Zionist regime were contrary to international law. According to Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, Britain had no sovereignty over Palestine and should have allowed the exercise of the right to self-determination, namely holding a free referendum with the participation of all inhabitants of Palestine. Not only this important didn’t happen, but maximum pressures like subjugation of opponents, enforced displacement the Palestinian intellectuals, evacuation of indigenous Palestinians from their homeland and many other ferocious actions occurred against them.

Negligence of the then big powers to the Islamic countries demands for resistance to and ceasing immigrations coincided with violence against the people of Palestine and led to conflicts in the area. During this asymmetric conflict, the occupier was endowed with highest military technology and arsenal while the people of Palestine just had some stones in their hands to throw. The people of Palestine were losing both their land and entity and Zionists were gaining both power and lands by usurpation.

From that time, some proposals were offered to the UN to whitewash heinous crimes perpetrated by expansionist Zionists in Palestine; also different resolutions were issued to orally condemn the Zionist regime atrocities in international and regional organisations, yet none of them led to a breakthrough for the sake of oppressed people of Palestine.

The philosophy behind the establishment of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in September 25, 1969 (following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem) was to support Palestine, but it has so far miserably failed to liberate the long-persecuted Palestinians from the yoke of the imperial Zionist regime due to its members divisions and negative role of interventionists. The defeat of proposed plans and ratified resolutions that supposedly wanted to bringing peace and stability for Palestine, paved the ground for the Zionist regime to first occupy and then annex Gaza Strip and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) that resulted in a great exodus of Palestinians to other countries. Unsuccessful attempts of the UN in defending the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people for self-determination, national independence, sovereignty, and returning their homeland, forced the Palestinians to resort to the first and second Intifada.

From the struggle inception till today, Palestinians are yearning for international support for their need to at least oppose Zionist settlements and Zionist actions in changing the status of Jerusalem, and they are also longing for their right for realization of other internationally recognized legitimate, inalienable rights enshrined in international conventions like ICCPR(International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and ICESCR(International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).

From the time the Palestine question was referred to multilateral organisations till now, Islamic countries rendered some efforts to push these organisations towards full realisation of Palestinian rights but due to US interference most of the UN decisions and resolutions came fanatically in favour of Zionists and with minimum attention to Palestinian rights. Putting aside the unjust and one-sided approaches in most of UN initiatives (from the Human Rights Commission to Human Rights Council and from UN Security Council to the subsidiary bodies of General Assembly), even these minimum rights of Palestinians faced considerable impediments to reach tangible results.

These facts show that avaricious Zionists and their supporters were not even ready to grant minimum advantages to Palestinians in the above-mentioned efforts. History is a good witness of the fact that how the US blocked Human Rights Commission because this organisation was seriously condemning the brutal activities of the Zionist regime in Palestinian lands. As the UN went weaker in helping the Palestinians and western countries blind to the brutalities, the Zionist regime utilised further savagery in violating the rights of these defenceless people. The atrocities got even more severe after seeing the full support of US behind its bully.

What deteriorated the situation for Palestinians even further was the passive gesture of some Arab states towards new agendas, leading to sweeping the question of Palestine under the rug of betrayal. One of the recent efforts for sweeping the issue was the doomed so-called peace plan by Trump entitled, the ‘deal of the century’ that not only doesn’t have any landscape for prosperity and stability for Palestinians but makes the Zionist regime more vigorous to claim new territories for annexation. One can see the deal as a smokescreen for annexation or the ‘slap of the century’; this plan won’t bring any amelioration for the already struggle-stricken situation.

On August 7, 1979, the founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Supreme leader of the time, Imam Khomeini, declared the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan each year as Quds Day, in which Muslims worldwide would unite in solidarity against Zionist regime and in support of the Palestinians and declared the “liberation” of Jerusalem/Al-Quds a religious duty to all Muslims.

Besides this symbolic collective movement, Iran spared no efforts to comprehensively support Palestinian resistance against suppression and plunder. The main support of Iran was a spiritual one and comprises a wide range of issues from helping the Palestinian voices to be heard at multilateral forums to enforce their rights-seeking spirit of these people. This kind of support made the people of Palestine more confident to fulfil their right to self-defence that is well acclaimed in Article 51 of the UN charter.

Considering the inefficiency and oppressive nature of previously suggested plans for the question of Palestine, Iran presents a precise and well measured plan entitled, the ‘National Referendum in Palestine’ to the UN to salvage the issue. In this plan, Iran clearly proposes a platform that provides the grounds for the true and original people of Palestine to exercise their right to self-determination.

According to this initiative, that is in full compliance with United Nations Charter and rules of international law, particularly international humanitarian law and human rights, all the authentic people of Palestine including the followers of all religions (Muslims, Christians and Jews) who inhabited Palestine before the issuance of the Balfour Declaration will hold a national referendum and establish a political system by majority that will decide the status of the non-indigenous residents of Palestine. The main requirement of this initiative, is the return of indigenous Palestinian refugees to their homeland; something that is both the request of people of Palestine and UN resolutions.

As mentioned before, Iran spared no effort to support Palestine and incurred many costs and loses during this path. During past decades, Iran has suffered a lot from unilateral US sanctions, the illegal act of defamation and designating the Iranian defensive unit (Al-Quds Force) and Iranian high-ranking military officials like “Shahid Al Quds” Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani as terror outfits, who within the context of international rules was supporting the oppressed people in the region and standing against terrorism, oppression and occupation. In spite of these sacrifices, the vigilant nation of Iran is still firmly standing for the goal of an independent, sovereign and free Palestine.

It is a source of grave concern that after seven decades, the question of Palestine is still unresolved and the international community has failed to settle this chronic complicated crisis. Considering the inattention and inefficiency of the UN in helping the Palestinians to gain their rights, the Islamic Ummah should, according to their Islamic mandate, consolidate and take a firm stance against the cunning, expansionist Zionist regime that has nothing except massacre, terror, destruction, violation to Islamic sanctities and so forth for our region.

In support of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif and resonating with Imam Khomeini, we, like previous years, consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Quds Day and proclaim the global solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine.