Skip to main content

Zawahiri calls for ‘jihad’ on eve of US embassy move to Jerusalem

Al-Qaeda chief says embassy move is evidence negotiations and 'appeasement' have failed Palestinians
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (AFP/file photo)

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on Sunday said America's decision to shift its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem was evidence that negotiations and "appeasement" have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out "jihad" against the United States.

In a five-minute video entitled "Tel Aviv is also a Land of Muslims," the Egyptian doctor who took charge of the group after its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, referred to the Palestinian Authority as the "sellers of Palestine," while urging followers to take up arms.

US President Donald Trump "was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad," Zawahiri said, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.

Zawahri's last public message was issued in February, when he called on Egyptians to topple their government ahead of presidential elections in March that gave President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a second term in office.

He added that Bin Laden had declared the US "the first enemy of the Muslims, and swore that it will not dream of security until it is lived in reality in Palestine, and until all the armies of disbelief leave the land of Muhammad."

He argued that Islamic countries had failed to act in Muslims' interests by entering into the United Nations, which recognises Israel, and submitted to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions instead of to Islamic law.

In his four-minute and 43-second message, Zawahri said all Muslim countries have effectively recognised Israel by signing the United Nations charter, which calls for respecting the territorial integrity of every member state.

"Many have even established public or secret relations with Israel and accepted that Tel Aviv or West Jerusalem be the capital of Israel, even though it is also Muslim land that cannot be ceded to Jews," Zawahri said in the recording posted on a social media channel used by the militant group.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.