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Anger Sweeps the Middle East

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    ANGER SWEEPS THE MIDDLE EAST The Arab League s foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo this weekend to discuss a unified approach to Israel s
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2002



      The Arab League's foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo this weekend to discuss a unified approach to Israel's occupation of West Bank towns.

      While there have been huge demonstrations across the Arab world in support of the Palestinians, Arab leaders have differing views on what to do.


      Egypt has scaled back its links with Israel amid increasing frustration over Israel's offensive.

      Pro-Palestinian demonstrator in Egypt

      Protests - banned elsewhere in Egypt - have been tolerated in universities

      It is one of only three Arab nations to have established relations with Israel and is seen as a key player for any solution.

      President Hosni Mubarak is so far emphasising negotiation rather than any military action.

      Though his government has cut political ties, vital diplomatic channels remain open.

      And Mr Mubarak - seen as leaning more to the West than some of his fellow Arab leaders - has urged the US to take steps to rein in Israel.

      Thousands of demonstrators at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo on Friday called for military intervention by a pan-Arab force, chanting: "One, two, where is the Arab army?"

      Demonstrations are banned in Egypt but huge gatherings backing Palestinians have been tolerated on several university campuses.


      Jordan is also demanding that the US pressure its ally to leave the West Bank.



      Up to two-thirds of Jordan's population are of Palestinian descent and thousands of protesters clashed with security forces in the capital Amman on Friday while trying to march on the Israeli embassy.

      Jordan's King Abdullah has warned US President George W Bush that the peace process will be destroyed if the Israeli action escalates.

      A nine-hour televised telethon - the idea of King Abdullah - has raised more than $9m for the Palestinians. Among those who made donations were all 27 members of the Jordanian cabinet who each gave a month's salary.

      Saudi Arabia

      Saudi leaders are continuing to push the land-for-peace proposal of Crown Prince Abdullah, which was supported by the Arab League at a summit last month.

      About 2,000 protesters are reported to have defied a ban on demonstrations and gathered outside the US consulate in the eastern city of Dhahran to voice support for the Palestinians.

      Another 2,500 demonstrators who reportedly marched outside the nearby town of al-Qatif were surrounded by police, but no violence was reported.

      Earlier this week about 150 Saudis burned US and Israeli flags in an impromptu demonstration in Skaka, in the north of the kingdom, but the government has reiterated its ban on public protests.


      Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Lebanon

      Lebanese police stopped protesters reaching the US embassy

      Hezbollah guerrillas have been exchanging fire with Israeli troops this week in a dispute over the Shebaa Farms area which is claimed by both Israel and Lebanon.

      Street protests against Israel continued in the capital, Beirut, and the town of Baalbeck in the north.


      President Bashar al-Assad told UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that Israel was committing massacres against the Palestinians and that there could be no solution until Israel withdrew from the West Bank and Gaza.

      Syrians, who want the return of the Golan Heights seized by Israel in the 1967 war, have also been holding rallies in support of the Palestinians.


      Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Yemen

      Yemeni journalists called for action to be taken against the US as an Israeli ally

      Yemen's President Ali Abdallah Salih has called on Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania to sever all ties with Israel and has stopped his normal work schedule in protest at the occupations.

      Thousands of citizens have protested in the capital Sanaa and groups have also occupied the street outside the city's US embassy.


      About 10,000 people staged a march in support of the Palestinians in the capital, Doha.

      The government has urged the US to do more to achieve peace in the Middle East and ministers support the idea for an emergency Arab League summit to discuss the occupations.


      Petrol bombs are reported to have been thrown at the US embassy. The Gulf Arab state is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

      United Arab Emirates

      A rare series of demonstrations has been held in the UAE while the government adds its voice to the calls for the US to halt the Israeli action.

      About 7,000 protesters rallied in front of a tower housing the US consulate in Dubai, denouncing American "bias" towards Israel.

      Sheikh Zayid Bin-Sultan Al Nuhayyan has decided to sponsor 5,000 orphans in the Palestinian territories as part of humanitarian aid he has been giving since the start of the intifada in September 2000.


      President Saddam Hussein has called for all Arab countries to break off all relations with Israel and to allow arms for the Palestinians to cross their land.

      He also said Arab nations should pull out of the US-led war on terror, but that could be more for Iraq's benefit as it could be President Bush's next target.

      About 20,000 Iraqis marched on a UN building in Baghdad, demanding that Israeli forces leave the Palestinian territories.


      Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi appears on Libyan TV

      Colonel Gaddafi wants Arab states to line up against Israel

      Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has urged Arab League nations to gather for a council of war to formulate a hard-line policy against Israel.

      He appeared on local television to support the Palestinians.

      But the Arab League's foreign ministers are unlikely to follow his hawkish path.


      The only member of the Arab League to have recognised Israel apart from Egypt and Jordan is pushing for a diplomatic rather than military solution.

      Protesters there have also taken to the streets to support the Palestinians.

      Outside the Arab world


      Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Tehran

      Cabinet ministers joined protesters on the streets in Tehran

      Government officials joined protesters outside Palestinian offices in Tehran to condemn the Israeli military moves.

      There was no immediate official reaction to allegations from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Iran, in conjunction with Syria, was aiding Hezbollah guerrillas involved in skirmishes with troops on the Israel-Lebanon border.


      Police banned an Islamic prayer meeting planned in Kampala.

      Elsewhere in Africa political leaders called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to embrace a Saudi peace plan for the Middle East.




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