- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

From combined dispatches
Anti-Israeli anger swept the Arab world and Arab communities in Western Europe yesterday, with synagogues torched in France and Belgium and a mob in Cairo driven away from the Israeli Embassy with water cannons.
Islamic countries at a major meeting in Malaysia, meanwhile, condemned Israeli military actions but were split over whether to condemn Palestinian suicide bombers as terrorists.
France deployed hundreds of police to guard Jewish buildings yesterday after a synagogue was burned down during a spate of anti-Semitic attacks.
An overnight arson attack in the southern city of Marseille was the third such blaze in a weekend of incidents that France's most senior Jewish leaders have compared to Nazi-era atrocities.
"It's the first time in the history of French Judiasm that a synagogue has been wiped from the map this way," said Zvi Ammar, head of the Jewish Consistory in Marseille.
French President Jacques Chirac, on a visit to the northern city of Le Havre, said, "These acts are completely unimaginable, unpardonable, indescribable and should be investigated and punished as such."
Israel's siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank has stirred anger at Jews among France's 4-million-strong Arab population.
Unknown assailants also hurled firebombs at a synagogue in the Belgian capital of Brussels, causing damage inside but no injuries.
Throughout the Middle East, Arab protests against Israel escalated, with an Egyptian demonstration the most violent.
After a group of artists, intellectuals and opposition politicians called for a march from Cairo University to the nearby Israeli Embassy, hundreds of marchers ran toward the embassy and broke through a line of riot police.
Police responded with tear gas and water cannons and beat demonstrators with their batons, pushing them back to a spot near the campus. The protest lasted seven hours.
Thirty protesters were arrested, and nine police officers were struck by stones. Sixteen protesters most suffering the effects of tear gas were hospitalized after the clashes.
In Jordan, about 300 protesters, mostly women, staged a candlelight march on the U.S. Embassy in Amman, where they called on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to intervene.
"Beloved Saddam, strike at Tel Aviv," the protesters chanted in front of a line of police before the embassy.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi led a march in his capital, Tripoli, and called on Arab countries to open their borders to let Arab volunteer fighters in to help the Palestinians.
Some 20,000 Sudanese marched through their capital, Khartoum, carrying banners declaring: "No peace with the Zionists."
More than 500 Lebanese and Palestinian demonstrators demanding that Egypt sever relations with Israel tried to storm the Egyptian Embassy in Beirut but were dispersed by dozens of policemen.
In Malaysia, where delegates from Islamic countries met for a conference, participants were split yesterday about whether to condemn Palestinian suicide bombers as terrorists.
The delegates passed a unanimous resolution accusing Israel of "dragging the region toward an all-out war" and calling for U.N. sanctions to deter Israeli military action.
Fault lines appeared immediately as the Palestinian representative disagreed with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the meeting's host, who said that suicide bombers killing Israeli civilians should be condemned.
Mr. Mahathir, a vital U.S. ally in the campaign against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, called for agreement that any attack on civilians by the September 11 hijackers, Israel's army or Palestinian suicide bombers be labeled terrorism.


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