AP. 29 November 2002. Mass protests mark anniversary
of 1947 UN vote that led to creation of Israel.
TEHRAN and KANO -- Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Friday
across the Middle East in a day of solidarity with Palestinians, with
marchers calling for trying Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a
war criminal and punishing the United States for it's support of
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami joined the estimated 10,000 people
who converged on Tehran's Enqelab Square in the annual protest for
Jerusalem Day. Accompanied by a squad of bodyguards, Khatami walked
with the crowd to the nearby Tehran University where he took part in
The protesters called for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to
stand trial for "crimes against humanity."
"Sharon is a war criminal and must be punished!" the
Protests also were held Friday in Cairo, the Syrian capital Damascus
and Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon to mark Al-Quds Day -- Al-Quds,
meaning "the holy," is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
In Tehran, Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani delivered the
Friday prayers sermon, saying the West remained indifferent to the
suffering of Palestinians in the ongoing fighting with
Israel, "despite pictures and (TV) films showing Israeli
In a warning to Israel, he said: "Don't think the war will be over
you expel Palestinians from their homes in the Gaza Strip and the
"We saw an example of that in Kenya on Thursday," Rafsanjani
referring to the suicide bomb attack outside Mombasa that killed 12
people at an Israeli-owned hotel.
In Bahrain, about 9,000 people marched through a town outside the
capital Manama behind a black truck bearing a huge painting of the
Dome of the Rock, the Islamic shrine in east Jerusalem that Israel
captured in the 1967 Mideast War.
Many demonstrators had wrapped around their heads scarves bearing the
slogan "Jerusalem is ours."
One participant, Jamil Abdullah Mohammed Sabt, who walked with
crutches, cursed Americans and Israelis.
"I pray that god's wrath befall America and Israel soon. They are
enemies of Arabs and Muslims," he said.
In Egypt, demonstrators focused on the current fighting between
Israelis and Palestinians. Protesters at the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo
called on their government to cut ties with Israel and the United
"We are here protesting the daily massacres against our brothers and
sisters in Palestine," said Fawqiya Maher, a member of the Arab
Demonstrators carried posters of late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel
Nasser, an icon of pan-Arab nationalism, with the caption "The
Also in Cairo, the Arab League issued a statement to mark the day,
saying: "It is time for the painful misery the Palestinian people
been enduring for decades to end."
The league, which groups 21 Arab states and the Palestinian
Authority, said the world should force Israel to comply with U.N.
Security Council resolutions requiring it to withdraw from the West
Bank and Gaza Strip, which were captured in the 1967 Arab-Israel war.
In Damascus, some 3,000 people marched in the Yarmouk Palestinian
refugee camp, walking behind posters showing Ayatollah Khomeini and
Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In Kano, tens of thousands of marchers took to the streets of this
northern Nigerian city Friday in an emotionally charged, but peaceful
Traffic was snarled and businesses closed for most of the day in this
sprawling city of several million.
Shouting "God is Great," and "Destroy the enemies of
marchers burned flags of Israel and the United States in front of the
palace of the emir of Kano, the city's traditional Muslim