Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Fury engulfs Arab world|
|10/09/00 at 15:38:44|
|Monday, 9 October, 2000, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK BBC|
Fury engulfs Arab world
The language of violence has returned to the Middle East after the start of
what is widely seen as "the battle for Jerusalem".
Protests have been the most persistent and widespread for many years - with
demonstrations spreading to the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, which have little
tradition of street demonstrations.
But as a groundswell of fury envelops the Arab world, the Egyptian Government,
which has long played a key role as mediator between Israel and the Arabs, has
warned against hasty calls for war.
Yemen, for one, has called for military aid to be sent to fight Israel, with
the country's President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, demanding the opening of Arab
borders for supplies of arms and fighters to the Palestinians.
And in Iraq, President Saddam Hussein said his people were ready to "destroy
Zionism" and called on Arabs to brandish their swords.
The Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, too, has spoken of military action.
He is reported to have said he was opposed to a meeting of Arab leaders unless
it would lead to a declaration of war on Israel, or an economic blockade.
But, by contrast, the Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak, has called for rational
behaviour in dealing with the crisis, and is to convene a meeting of Arab
leaders on 21 and 22 October in Cairo.
It will be the first such summit since 1996 and almost all Arab states are
expected to participate.
This could mean Iraq and Kuwait putting aside their differences to sit down at
the table together in a rare show of unity.
Schoolchildren join protests
One Egyptian opposition newspaper is demanding the breaking of relations with
Israel, while another has called for Arabs to "use the oil weapon" to free
On the streets of a number of Arab nations, a torrent of discontent has been
Over the weekend, hundreds of Egyptian demonstrators marched to the Israeli
embassy in Cairo and burned Israeli flags. And students have continued their
protests, following on from a 10,000-strong gathering at Cairo University last
Tension is mounting among Israel's other neighbours. On Friday, there were
anti-Israel protests in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Lebanon has witnessed the worst border clashes since Israel pulled its forces
out of a 15km (nine mile) deep zone in south Lebanon after 22 years of
occupation. At least two Palestinians were killed and 12 injured.
And on Friday, thousands of Palestinian refugees spurred on by Friday prayers
calling for a "jihad" against Israel, poured out of mosques to demonstrate on
Israeli military reinforcements have arrived on the border as negotiations
continue over the release of three Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah over
Hizbullah, which spearheaded the resistance against Israeli occupation, says it
is ready for war and there are fears of a major escalation in violence.
In Syria, demonstrators have attempted to storm the US embassy, breaking
windows and forcing the embassy to close.
Elsewhere in the Arab world:
A poll on the Internet site arabia.com - a site popular in the Gulf - found
that 70% of respondents were in favour of an Arab-Israeli war.
During a phone-in programme on the region-wide al-Jezira satellite television
channel, based in Qatar, callers berated Arab governments for failing to
confront Israel. In Doha, several thousand people marched through the streets,
while hundreds protested in Bahrain.
In Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, thousands of people burned Israeli and US flags
in the northern town of Sakkaka near the Jordanian border.
Kuwait has rushed aid to the Palestinians in their first official contact for a
decade. Relations between the two turned sour after the emirate accused the
Palestinians of sympathising with Iraq's 1990 invasion.
In Jordan, where almost half the population which is Palestinian, demonstrators
clashed with police as they tried to march on the Israeli embassy in the
In the Moroccan capital, Rabat, hundreds of thousands of people burned Israeli
and US flags on Sunday, while angry Yemeni demonstrators pelted the US embassy
in Sanaa with rubbish.
In Dubai, a Gulf Arab defence minister lamented Arab inaction against Israel.
He offered a poem and a school in memory of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy,
Mohammed al-Durra, whose televised death shocked the world.
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