Sunday 28 December 2008

Arab People, Not Regimes, Express Solidarity with Gaza

Hussein Assi

Once again, Arab regimes and Arab people seem to be living on two opposite river banks.
For the second consecutive day, the Zionist entity continued its bloody offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza strip, committing the worst-ever massacres.

For the second consecutive day, many Arab regimes maintained their deadly official "calm," or even worse, their "verbal denunciation" to the attacks. Yet, none of the Arab leaders took any "practical measure," except for calling for an "urgent" Arab summit on Friday, a week after the Israeli offensive that claimed the lives of more 270 Palestinians in less than 24 hours!

In contrast with the expected Arab official reaction to Zionist aggressions, Arab peoples have staged angry demonstrations across the Arab world to condemn Israeli barbarism and to express support for Palestinian Resistance. Demonstrations also called on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the Palestinians and the crimes against humanity committed by Israel.

One of the biggest demonstrations took place in the Yemeni capital Sanaa Sunday where the General People's Congress (GPC), National Democratic Coalition and civil society organizations organized a solidarity rally in the Capital Secretariat against the brutal Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Capital Secretariat and called for an Arab and Islamic unified stand against Israel’s illegal actions.

Syria, in turn, witnessed a huge rally where tens of thousands of Syrians gathered at the center of Damascus, protesting the Israeli aggressions and the Arab regimes' calm. They declared solidarity with Gaza and called to stop the aggressions as soon as possible. They also set fire to Israeli and US flags.

Beirut also witnessed for the second consecutive day multiple solidarity movements against the Israeli attacks. Palestinian and Lebanese protesters gathered outside the UN-ESCWA, calling for a responsible international reaction to the massacres. Protesters held candles and Palestinian flags, chanting anti-Israel slogans.
Demonstrations also have been held at the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, mainly the Ain el-Helwe camp in Sidon in south Lebanon. Dozens of youths took to the streets to express solidarity with the Palestinians and set fire to tires. A huge rally is also set to take place in the southern city on Monday.

Around 20,000 people took to the streets of Egyptian cities on Sunday to protest against the attacks. The largest protest saw around 8,000 people demonstrate on the streets of Assiut, a city in southern Egypt of 400,000, a security official said, with another 3,000 gathering in Minya, south of Cairo. A security official said 4,000 people took part in another anti-Israel and pro-Gaza demonstration in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, the security official said. Another 4,000 people rallied outside the Doctors' Syndicate in the capital against the Israeli onslaught that has also wounded more than 600 Palestinians in the isolated enclave on Egypt's northeastern border.

Jordanians are also set to protest against the Israeli attacks on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters in the Jordanian capital Amman demonstrated in front of the nearby UN headquarters, waving Hamas banners and condemning Israel's strikes.

Thousands of people marched in the Moroccan capital to protest Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip and called for revenge for the more than 270 Palestinians martyred. A crowd estimated at 3,000 carried signs denouncing the "Israeli aggressors" and chanted that "with our soul, with our blood, we will sacrifice for you, Gaza!"

Meanwhile, a general strike was observed all across Palestinian territories Sunday in protest at the Israeli massacre in Gaza. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had called for a general strike and rallies and declared state of mourning. Commercial stores closed and Palestinian flags were brought to half-mast.
Some of the rallies developed into clashes between the Israeli occupation forces and the protestors in Ramallah, where dozens were injured with Israeli bullets.
Angry demonstrations also broke out in Oum el-Fahem, Nazareth, Sahnin and Tamra in northern occupied Palestine in response to a call from leaders of the Arab community. Protesters chanted slogans condemning Israeli aggressions and waved Palestinian flags.
In Bethlehem, municipal officials switched off Christmas lights in protest at the violence.

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