"For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think then we could have devised a plan, a strategy that can win us final victory... Remember that the Prophet did not have many followers when he went to Madinah. But he united the Ansars and the Muhajirins and eventually he became strong enough to defend Islam [a reference to the infamous Hudaibiyah treaty mentioned a few paragraphs earlier in the speech in which Muhammad 'consolidated his strength and eventually was able to enter Mecca and claim it for Islam' - ed. note]."
Mahathir further called for winning over the West: "We must not antagonize everyone. We must win their hearts and minds..." He said that suicide attacks do not serve their purpose: "We must not strengthen the enemy by pushing everyone into their camps through irresponsible and un-Islamic acts." He then continued,
"[Our] counter-attack need not start only after we have put our houses in order. Even today we have sufficient assets to deploy against our detractors. It remains for us to identify them and to work out how to make use of them to stop the carnage caused by the enemy. This is entirely possible if we stop to think, to plan, to strategize and to take the first few critical steps... To do the things that are suggested will not even require all of us to give up our differences with each other. We need only to call a truce so we can act together in tackling only certain problems of common interests - the Palestine problem for example.
"In any struggle, in any war, nothing is more important than concerted and coordinated action. A degree of discipline is all that is needed. The Prophet lost in Jabal Uhud because his forces broke rank. We know that, yet we are unwilling to discipline ourselves and to give up our irregular and uncoordinated actions. We need to be brave but not foolhardy. We need to think not just of our reward in the afterlife but also of the worldly results of our mission.
"The Quran tells us that when the enemy sues for peace we must react positively. True the treaty offered is not favorable to us. But we can negotiate. The Prophet did, at Hudaibiyah. And in the end he triumphed...
"Of late because of their power and their apparent success they have become arrogant... They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes. There may be windows of opportunity for us now and in the future. We must seize these opportunities..."
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said the speech was "a shrewd and very deep assessment."