Cairo, Egypt Osama bin Laden released a new message Sunday denouncing Arab leaders for sacrificing the Palestinians and saying the head of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah did not really have the strength to take on Israel.
In his second audio message in three days focusing on the Palestinians, the al-Qaida leader said the only way to liberate Palestine is to fight the Arab regimes that are protecting Israel. And he called on Muslim militants in Egypt to help break the blockade of Gaza.
Bin Laden said Muslims should ignore the Islamic prohibition against raising arms against fellow Muslims, claiming it was legitimate to rise up against leaders who are not governing according to Islamic law. Those leaders, he said, came to power "either by a military coup or with backing from foreign forces."
"Those (Arab) kings and leaders sacrificed Palestine and Al-Aqsa to keep their crowns," bin Laden said, referring to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites. "But we will not be relieved of this responsibility."
Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri frequently attack Arab leaders as traitors and sellouts. But they are increasingly focusing on the Palestinian issue in recent messages, aiming to increase their appeal to an Arab public widely sympathetic to the Palestinian plight.
Bin Laden's last audio message, released Friday to mark the 60th anniversary of Israel's establishment, vowed to continue what he called al-Qaida's struggle against the Jewish state.
With his denunciation of Arab leaders, bin Laden portrayed himself as the true defender of the Palestinian cause. He said Israel was weak but the Arabs have not fought "even a single serious war to get Palestine back."
Bin Laden singled out by name Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, whose 2006 war against Israel boosted the group's popularity among Shiites and Sunnis.
Bin Laden said Nasrallah claimed he had enough resources, such as money and combatants, to fight Israel.
"But the truth is the opposite," he said. "If he was honest and has enough (resources), why then he did not support the fight to liberate Palestine."
Bin Laden made no reference to the recent clashes in Lebanon between Shiite Hezbollah supporters and Sunni supporters of the U.S.-backed government. It was not clear whether his message was recorded before or after the violence broke out.