Anti-Israel demonstrations grow throughout the Muslim world

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 09:34:58 +0100

Cairo, Egypt --- Arab protests against Israel escalated Monday, with
demonstrators clashing with police in the Jordanian and Egyptian
capitals, and their leaders searching for ways to defuse the crisis. The
Egyptian demonstration was the most violent protest here since Israel
seized control of Yasser Arafat's compound Friday. Arabs also took to
the streets in Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Yemen. 

After a group of artists, intellectuals and opposition politicians
called for a march from Cairo University to the nearby Israeli Embassy,
hundreds of marchers ran toward the embassy and broke through a line of
riot police. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons and
whipped demonstrators with their batons, pushing protesters back to a
spot near the campus. 

The protest lasted seven hours. Thirty protesters were arrested, and
nine police officers were struck by stones. Sixteen protesters --- most
suffering the effects of tear gas --- were hospitalized. The Egyptian
protesters called on their government to close the Israeli Embassy and
accused the United States of giving Israel the green light for its
offensive and called for the boycott of American products. But calls to
boycott U.S. products have been heard before in Egypt and gone largely
unheeded. Egyptian officials say their ties with Israel give them an
opportunity to influence Israeli policy. 

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi led a march in his capital, Tripoli, and
called on Arab countries to open their borders to let Arab volunteer
fighters in to help the Palestinians. About 20,000 Sudanese marched
through their capital, Khartoum, carrying banners declaring: "No peace
with the Zionists" and "No bargaining when it comes to Jerusalem." In
Yemen, more than 200 journalists gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy
in San'a carrying pictures of Arafat. 

They handed an embassy official a letter accusing the United States of
bias toward Israel. In Zarqa, about 17 miles northeast of Amman, Jordan,
about 3,000 people chanted "Death to Israel" and called for holy war
against the Jewish state. Later, about 300 protesters, mostly women,
staged a candlelit march on the U.S. Embassy in Amman, where they called
on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to intervene. "Beloved Saddam, strike
at Tel Aviv," the protesters chanted in front of a line of police before
the embassy. 

More than 500 Lebanese and Palestinian demonstrators demanding that
Egypt sever relations with Israel tried to storm the Egyptian Embassy in
Beirut but were dispersed by dozens of police officers. In Syria, more
than 1,000 Syrians and Palestinian refugees chanted: "Terrorism is
Zionist and the weapons are American!" In Saudi Arabia, whose Crown
Prince Abdullah was reportedly working with the United States to get
Israeli troops out of Arafat's compound, Saudi citizens criticized
President Bush. 

"The American administration has been covering up for [Israel's]
terrorism for 50 years," said Soliman al-Obedallah, a 50-year-old
businessman. The official Saudi Press Agency reported that King Fahd,
during a weekly Cabinet meeting Monday, condemned Israel and urged the
United States, Russia, the European Union and the U.N. Security Council
to support the Arab peace initiative and pressure Israel into
withdrawing from Arab land. In Iraq, Hussein urged Arab countries to
adopt "economic measures" against Israel and its supporters. 

He did not elaborate, but the ruling Baath Party in a statement called
on the Arabs to use oil as a weapon, apparently by cutting off supplies
to the West in order to force Western powers to pressure Israel. "If oil
is not used today as a weapon in the battle to enhance the honor and
dignity of our [Arab] nation and our religion and to liberate our land
and holy places against Zionism and America, it will be a curse." 

Source:  Associated Press

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