Thousands of anti-Israel protesters have rallied across the Middle East
to denounce Israel's offensive against the Hamas militant group in the
Large demonstrations were held today (Sunday) in Egypt,
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Some protesters burned the
flags of Israel and its chief ally, the United States, and accused both
nations of engaging in terrorism.
Many demonstrators also demanded that Arab leaders have a stronger
response to the Israeli attacks in Gaza. The Arab League plans to hold
an emergency summit on the Gaza situation in Qatar on Friday.
In the Lebanese capital, Beirut, some protesters threw stones at the
Egyptian embassy, angered by what they see as Egypt's lack of support
for Gaza. Lebanese police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The prime minister of Turkey, another ally of Israel, criticized the
Israeli offensive as a blow to peace. Turkish state news agency
Anatolia says Recep Tayyip Erdogan also accused the Jewish state of
using "disproportionate force."
Syria says indirect peace talks with Israel will remain suspended in
protest at the Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Syria and Israel held four
rounds of talks through Turkish mediators earlier this year, but no
apparent progress was made.
Jordanian Islamist lawmakers held a protest in Amman to demand the
closure of Israel's embassy in the city. Jordan and Egypt both have
diplomatic relations with Israel, unlike most of the Arab world.
Elsewhere, a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up at an
anti-Israel protest in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing one
demonstrator and wounding 16 others. The motive for the attack was
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi accused his Arab counterparts of adopting
a "cowardly" response to the Israeli offensive. He urged them to scrap
an Arab peace plan that offers Israel recognition in return for pulling
out of all land it occupied in the 1967 Mideast war.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused some Arab
governments of "encouraging" Israel by remaining silent on the Gaza
offensive. He also urged all Muslims to defend the Palestinians, saying
anyone who dies in the process will be considered a "martyr."