Enough humiliation!, Where is the Islamic army?

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 09:12:54 +0100

Source:  Associated Press

Cairo - Arabs expressed frustration Sunday at their countries' inability
to help besieged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, gathering in coffee
shops to follow the news or demonstrating in the streets to press their
leaders to take decisive action. 

"There are no Arab leaders, no Arabs any more," shouted 32-year-old
electrician Ashraf Farouk as he drank tea with milk in a Cairo cafe and
watched Egyptian television footage of dead Palestinians. "We want
weapons to fight, (but) our governments are standing in our way." 

"Where is the Arab army?" chanted some of the tens of thousands of
Egyptian students who demonstrated Sunday. "Arabs, we have had enough
humiliation!" shouted protesters in a march by more than 2,000 people in
Damascus, Syria. Pro-Palestinian protests also took place in Jordan,
Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman and Sudan. In Mauritania, police fired tear
gas to disperse thousands who denounced Israel and accused the United
States of backing Israel. Arabs have demonstrated every day since
Friday, when Israeli troops took control of the West Bank city of
Ramallah. Mr. Arafat has since been confined in his office building by
Israeli troops, while Israeli forces battle Palestinians in the city,
rounding up hundreds of Palestinian men from their homes. Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon announced Sunday his nation was "at war" and vowed
to destroy the "terrorist infrastructure" among the Palestinians. 

With little influence over Israel, Arab governments were left asking the
United States, the United Nations and European leaders to take action. 

King Abdullah II of Jordan called UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and
discussed ways to "provide protection to the Palestinian people" and
force Israel to end the siege on Mr. Arafat, the official Petra news
agency reported. Jordan signed a 1994 peace treaty with Israel. 

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher told the Israeli ambassador in
Amman on Sunday that Jordan would take unspecified measures unless the
attack on Mr. Arafat ended. Jordan's options included further
downgrading its representation in Israel, asking the Israeli ambassador
to leave, or cutting or suspending ties. 

Sunday, Egyptian protesters called for their government to send the
Israeli ambassador in Cairo home. Egypt, the only other Arab nation with
a full peace treaty with Israel, has rejected cutting such links, saying
they form an important avenue to Israeli decision-makers. 

Egypt is unlikely to take any step that would undermine its position as
a key mediator and voice of moderation, a role that gives it
international stature and cements its ties to the United States. 

At the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Palestinian Planning Minister
Nabil Shaath on Sunday told reporters he was working "to intensify the
tone of the Arab support" for the Palestinians. 

"All the (Arab) capabilities must be mobilized to confront Israel," Mr.
Shaath said. "I hope we can intensify pan-Arab action - from statements,
condemnations and contacts to a bigger step." But even Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein, who is known for sabre-rattling against Israel, said his
hands were tied. 

"You well know that we will do anything possible to help you remain
steadfast and lead you to victory but you know that we are fighting on
other fronts ... and you also know the geography factor," Iraq's state
news agency quoted Mr. Hussein as saying Sunday. 

Iraq fears a potential U.S. attack after Washington accused it of
sponsoring terrorists and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
Jordan, which lies between Iraq and the Palestinian areas, is unlikely
to allow Mr. Hussein to send forces across its territory. 

The Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah, which has called on Arab nations
to help the Palestinian uprising, said Israel was encouraged to attack
the Palestinians by the Arab League's approval Thursday of a
comprehensive peace offer to Israel. 

"When the response to (Israeli) massacres is more (peace) initiatives,
the Israeli response will be more killing," Hezbollah leader Sheik
Hassan Nasrallah said in speech to his followers in Baalbek, Lebanon.
The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al
Nahyan, asked the United States to act to implement Saturday's UN
Security Council resolution calling on Israel to immediately withdraw
from Palestinian towns. "Arabs are helpless, and Egypt can't do more
because it has a peace treaty with Israel," said clothing shop owner
Adel Abbas as he sat in a Cairo coffee shop watching reports from
Ramallah on the satellite channel Al-Jazeera, one of the most widely
watched stations in the Arab world. 

As the Al-Jazeera reporter spoke from the station's Ramallah newsroom
Sunday, gunshots could be heard nearby. The footage showed Palestinian
police surrendering to Israelis and lifting their shirts to show they
were not hiding weapons. 

Source:  Associated Press

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