DUBAI (AFP) – Osama bin Laden has called on Muslims to help lift the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and to fight their governments in order to liberate Palestine, in an audio message purportedly recorded by the Al-Qaeda chief.
“Dozens of people have died as a result of this unjust blockade” on Gaza, which has been under the control of the Islamist Hamas movement since June, said the message which was posted on a website used by Islamist militants late on Sunday.
The message, whose authenticity could not be verified, was addressed to the “Islamic nation” and called on Muslims, especially those in Egypt which borders Gaza, to “strive to break the blockade”.
Bin Laden, the Western world’s most wanted man, urged Muslims to rise up against their governments in order to liberate Palestine, and accused Arab regimes of having sold out the Palestinian people.
“The Zionist entity (Israel) owes its survival not to its own power, but to the fact that (Arab) governments have renounced their struggle,” bin Laden said, calling on Muslim youth to wage jihad, or holy war.
“I assure you that the Zionist entity would not stand one tenth of the efforts exerted by the mujahedeen to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan… nor one tenth of what the mujahedeen are doing today to fight the United States and its agents in Iraq.”
The message also cited the participation of some Western leaders in celebrations for Israel’s 60th anniversary as “proof that their values of justice, freedom and humanism are mere slogans brandished about to trick the weak”.
US President George W. Bush was among top leaders who joined the anniversary festivities — an occasion marked by Palestinians as a “catastrophe”.
In an audio message posted on the Internet Friday, bin Laden also vowed Muslims would not give up “one inch of Palestine”.
“The participation of Western leaders with the Jews in this celebration confirms that the West supports this ugly Jewish occupation of our lands and that they stand in the Israelis’ trench against us,” Bin Laden said in that message, which was addressed to “Western peoples.”
In the new message, which lasted nearly 23 minutes, bin Laden said it was high time Muslims “from Indonesia to Mauritania” rebelled against the “tyrants” ruling them.
In order to liberate Palestine “there is no other path than the battle against the governments and parties… who stand between us and the Jews”.
The Saudi-born Sunni extremist also chastised Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah for ending the Lebanese Shiite militia’s 2006 war against Israel.
“Hassan Nasrallah said he didn’t need money… or men as he had those. If he was sincere, why didn’t he continue the battle for the liberation of Palestine?”
Bin Laden slammed Nasrallah for having “welcomed crusader forces (who came) to protect the Jews,” a reference to UN forces whose presence in south Lebanon was strengthened after the 2006 war.
Bin Laden has claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States which killed nearly 3,000 people and prompted the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Despite a massive manhunt and a 25-million-dollar bounty on his head, he has evaded capture and has regularly taunted the United States and its allies through warnings issued via video and audio, mainly on the Internet.