Following are excerpts from a speech delivered by Libyan leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi, at the Arab League summit in Syria. The speech aired on Al-Jazeera TV on March 29, 2008.
Mu'ammar Qadhafi: People here talked about the pre-1967 borders. To tell you the truth, this is astonishing. Whatever happened to the [Palestinian] cause we had before 1967? Were we lying to ourselves or to the world? Thousands of martyrs fell before 1967. What for? How can you say that Palestine was occupied only in 1967, and that [Israel] must return to the pre-1967 borders? Does Palestine consist of only the West Bank and the Gaza Strip? If so, it means that the Israelis did not occupy it in 1948. They left it to you for twenty years, so why didn't you establish a Palestinian state? Wasn't the Gaza Strip part of Egypt and the West Bank part of Jordan? The Jews left them to you for twenty years – from 1948 to 1967. If that is Palestine, why didn't you establish a state there? What is the justification for all the wars, the sacrifices, and the economic embargo on Israel before 1967? The Israelis can sue the Arabs now, and demand billions or even trillions in compensation for the damage caused them in 1948-1967. You Arabs admitted that the [Palestinian] cause began after 1967. So the Israelis can ask: "Why did you fight us before that?" They will demand Arab compensation for the so-called embargo on Israel and for the economic damage caused to the Israelis. If the Israelis sue you, they will win. They will say: We suffered an injustice. We are like an innocent lamb surrounded by wolves. We've been saying this since 1948.
Now the Arabs themselves have admitted that Palestine was occupied in 1967. Now they demand that Israel return to the pre-1967 borders, saying this will resolve the problem, and they will recognize Israel. Why didn't you recognize Israel before 1967? All the damage suffered in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, to this day – what was it all for, if the entire Palestinian cause began after 1967? Why didn't you recognize the so-called Israel before 1967, if Palestine was not occupied before then? This is strange. It is illogical. It doesn't make sense. What is this? There is no God but Allah. By Allah, this is unacceptable. It doesn't make sense. You say that you will recognize Israel within the pre-1967 borders?! Maybe Israel will occupy more Arab land in, say, 2008, and a few years later, you will demand that it return to the pre-2008 borders, in exchange for recognizing Israel. This is exactly what's going on now.
We gave negotiations a serious try. The Jews used to say: "Meet with us only once for direct negotiations, and we will resolve this issue." This is what they used to say in the 1950s and 1060s. They used to say: "Please, Arabs, sit down with us just one time, and our problem will be over." But you saw what happened. We met with them a thousand times – from the stables of [Camp] David to Annapolis. We've been through all these negotiations – the stables of [Camp] David, the Oslo negotiations of our brother Abu Mazen... He was, of course, the hero of Oslo – just like Sadat was the hero of the stable of [Camp] David.
When Algeria was fighting, donations and volunteers were coming in broad daylight – from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf. From here, from Syria, Dr. Ibrahim Makhous came with a group of volunteers, and fought alongside the Algerian Liberation Front. They were not considered terrorists, and no measures were taken against Syria. When Libya fought against the Italian occupation, all the Arabs supported the Libyan mujahideen. 'Aziz Al-Masri was among those who fought with the Libyans, yet he was not considered a terrorist. The Libyan mujahideen received donations from the Arab countries. It got to the point that they had to put barbed wire on the Libyan-Egyptian border, in order to prevent this.
We Arabs never occupied any country. Well, we occupied Andalusia unjustly, and they drove us out, but since then, we Arabs have not occupied any country. It is our countries that are occupied. Palestine is occupied, Iraq is occupied, and for the UAE islands... It is not in the best interest of the Arabs for hostility to develop between them and Iran, Turkey, or any of these nations. By no means is it in our interest to turn Iran against us. If there really is a problem, we should decide here to refer this issue to the International Court of Justice. This is the proper venue for the resolution of such problems. We should decide to refer the issue of the disputed UAE islands to the International Court of Justice, and we should accept whatever it rules. One time you say this is occupied Arab land, and then you say... This is not clear, and it causes confusion. 80% of the people of the Gulf are Iranians. The ruling families are Arab, but the rest are Iranian. The entire people is Iranian. This is a mess. Iran cannot be avoided. Iran is a Muslim neighbor, and it is not in our interest to become enemies.
What is the reason for the invasion and destruction of Iraq and for the killing of one million Iraqis? Let our American friends answer this question: Why Iraq? What is the reason? Is Bin Laden an Iraqi? No, he is not. Were those who attacked New York Iraqis? No, they were not. Were those who attacked the Pentagon Iraqis? No, they were not. Were there WMDs in Iraq? No, there were not. Even if Iraq did have WMDs – Pakistan and India have nuclear bombs, and so do China, Russia, Britain, France, and America. Should all these countries be destroyed? Fine, let's destroy all the countries that have WMDs.
Along comes a foreign power, occupies an Arab country, and hangs its president, and we all sit on the sidelines, laughing. Arafat was in captivity for several years, and we sat on the sidelines, and even convened a summit without him. Why didn't we refuse to convene the summit unless Arafat was released? Eventually, they killed him by poison. Why didn't we turn to the Security Council and demand that they investigate the killing of Arafat? Why didn't they investigate the hanging of Saddam Hussein? How can a POW be hanged – a president of an Arab country and a member of the Arab League no less! I'm not talking about the policies of Saddam Hussein, or the disagreements we had with him. We all had political disagreements with him, and we have such disagreements among ourselves here. We share nothing, beyond this hall.
Why won't there be an investigation into the killing of Saddam Hussein? An entire Arab leadership was executed by hanging, yet we sit on the sidelines. Why? Any one of you might be next. Yes.
America fought alongside Saddam Hussein against Khomeini. He was their friend. Cheney was a friend of Saddam Hussein. Rumsfeld, the U.S. Defense Secretary at the time Iraq was destroyed, was a close friend of Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, they sold him out and hanged him. You are friends of America – let's say that "we" are, not "you" – but one of these days, America may hang us.
Brother 'Amr Musa has an idea, about which he is enthusiastic. He mentioned it in his report. He says that the Arabs have the right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes, and that there should be an Arab nuclear program. The Arabs have this right. They even have the right to have a nuclear program for other... But Allah prevails... But who are those Arabs whom you say should have a united nuclear program? We are the enemies of one another, I'm sad to say. We all hate one another, we deceive one another, we gloat at the misfortune of one another, and we conspire against one another. Our intelligence agencies conspire against one another, instead of defending us against the enemy. We are the enemies of one another, and an Arab's enemy is another Arab's friend. If only we used such ferocity against the enemy.
We meet in Syria, which is an Arab country. But the relations Syria has with Russia, Iran, or Turkey are a thousand times better than its relations with its Arab neighbors. The relations that Libya has with Italy are a thousand times better than its relations with its neighbors, Egypt and Tunisia. This is the situation of the Arabs.