Worthy Christian News » Israel-Palestinian Conflict » Arabs Protest Israeli Offensive Worldwide
by David Haggith
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News) -- As Israel's offensive against militants of the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip continued Tuesday, January 6, around the world Arabic leaders, Palestinians and their supporters continued to pressure the Jewish state to end the operation.
Earlier, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of the grand mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, condemned Israel's actions in Gaza "as state-sponsored terrorism" and asked world leaders to intervene. “On behalf of all Muslims in the world we call on the international community and other organizations to immediately stop this Zionist terrorism,” Al-Sudais said.
Al Sudais in the past has been barred from conferences in the U.S. and from entry to Canada for praying publicly for Allah to "terminate" Jews. He has reportedly said that the conflict between Muslims and Jews is one of "existence" and has called "worshipers of the cross" the enemies of Islam, advocating jihad, liberation of Jerusalem from Jewish influence, and attacks against Americans in Iraq.
He encouraged Muslims around the world over the weekend to unite against Israel's operation in Gaza because "it is the duty of people of Islam to strengthen themselves with mutual support so that they can protect their land, holy places and religion, particularly at times of calamities and disasters."
The situation in Gaza was also the main topic of sermons throughout Saudi Arabia on Friday, January 2. Some, including Islamic leader Shaikh Salman bin Fahad Al-Odah, advocated peaceful protest: "This peaceful protest should be exercised as per the rules and regulations of every country. Such protests build pressure on decision makers to react positively with the cause," Al-Obdah said.
But not all protests were peaceful, and some advocated violent resistance against the Jewish state. Muhammad Abd Al-Qader, a member of the Jordanian parliament, said in a public speech last week, "The Koran says: 'Fight them, Allah will torment them by your hands. He will bring them to disgrace.'"
Because Arabs are not united in their opinions against Israel, Al-Qadar said he does "not expect anything good from the ruling regimes in the Arab and Islamic world." He said, "The multitudes must realize that these regimes have become strategic allies of the Jews," according to remarks monitored by Worthy News. "They have promised to defend the borders of the state of the Jews, and to kill any mujahid who breaks through these borders." He added that " Jihad now means fighting, and that it is a personal duty incumbent upon every Muslim man and woman."
As statements of support yelled out by the crowd he was speaking to, the Jordanian MP continued, "The borders must be broken through, this blood must be shed, along with the blood of your brothers, on the land of Gaza and Palestine, while fighting and killing the Jews."
Moderate leaders in countries that signed peace treaties with Israel, including Jordan, are increasingly confronted with resentment towards Israel among their own people, analysts say.
Islamic protests have also taken place throughout Europe last week. Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and Spain all saw protests.
Paris police reported 21,000 demonstrators marching through the city with Palestinian keffiyeh headscarves, demanding an end to Israel's actions in Gaza. protesters set three cars on fire, overturned twenty others, and smashed windows in popular shopping areas as they clashed with police, witnesses said.
In London, over 10,000 protesters took to the streets, officials said. Protests were also planned for thirty other towns in Britain, and riot police were deployed outside Israel's embassy in London to protect the Kensington compound.
The crowd, speaking against "violence by Israel," attacked police with fireworks and bottles. Armed with riot gear, police hauled several protesters away for their disorderly conduct, television footage showed.
Later, protesters attempted to break through a police barrier in order to get to the embassy. Additional units of armored police were called in to help press back the advancing crowd. In some instances, people were thrown to the ground by police in an effort to stop the advance against the embassy. Organizers said they would launch official complaints that the police had injured demonstrators.
Mimicking the recent actions of an Iraqi journalist against United States President George W. Bush, British protesters near Downing Street took off their shoes in solidarity and threw them into the street as they passed the gated entrance to the British prime minister's residence. Some carried signs with messages, such as, "Stop the massacre."
One man from Birmingham, Paul Mukerji, said, "The best way for peace for Palestinians and Israelis is to end the occupation."
Protesters also marched against an Israeli embassy in Athens Greece, saying Israel should end its bombardments of Gaza. Protesters reportedly attacked police with stones and even fire bombs. Police fought back with stun grenades and tear gas. Most of the 5,000 protestors were Palestinians, news reports said. Youth joined the battle, reportedly targeting police, rather than the embassy.
About 3,500 people protested in Berlin, another 4,000 in Dusseldorf. Hundreds gathered in Dublin. Protests were also reported in the U.S., Russia, South America, and parts of Africa.