Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran will stand beside the Hamas government in Gaza and that Israel is weakening and on the path to eventual destruction, state television reported.
Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, called Hamas' prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, a "mujahed", or holy warrior, saying "the Iranian nation will never let you be alone."
"Unity in the world of Islam is the only way to counter enemies' all-out offensives. Since they feel helpless in the face of huge movement of Islamic awakening, enemies resort to discord through lies and deception," said Khamenei at prayers marking the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday that ends the holy month of Ramadan.
Khamenei said Israel "has weakened day by day ... Today, officials of the Zionist regime acknowledge that they are moving towards weakness, destruction and defeat," according to state television. Khamenei added that the Zionists' failure and defeat is absolute.
"Definitely, the world of Islam will see that day and hope the existing generation of the Palestinian people will watch the day Palestine is at the disposal of the Palestinian people, in the hands of the landlords," he said.
Khamenei has predicted Israel's downfall in the past, like Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Khamenei has repeatedly called Israel a "cancerous tumor" that need to be removed from
the Middle East.
"This year, from East to the West, in the world of Islam and even in Europe, which is dominated by governments' prejudice, (and) anywhere Muslims seized the chance voiced their support for the oppressed Palestinian nation…Thanks to Islamic awakening, the world of Islam has today become more sensitive towards and more anxious over the Palestine issue."
Israel had close ties with Iran when the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was in power. When the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the shah, Iran broke ties with Israel and turned the Israeli embassy in Tehran into the Palestinian Authority embassy.