- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 31, 2002

From combined dispatches
CAIRO Large crowds of protesters took to the streets across the Arab world yesterday, chanting "death to Israel" and denouncing the siege of Palestinian cities.
Tens of thousands of protesters marched through cities in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen. Smaller demonstrations were held in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria and Kuwait.
Thousands also marched in support of the Palestinian people in France, Germany and other European countries yesterday.
Burning American and Israeli flags, about 10,000 demonstrators in Baghdad urged President Saddam Hussein to "hit Tel Aviv," reviving memories of Iraqi Scud missiles fired on Israel during the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
It was the second day of protests against Israel's storming of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Surrounded by Israeli tanks and snipers, Mr. Arafat and a handful of aides were confined yesterday to one building in the compound.
In Bahrain, nearly 1,000 people marched through the capital, Manama, with banners reading "Yes, to holy war. No to negotiations." The procession was headed by a man dressed as an undertaker who dragged an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk camp outside Damascus, Syria, and in the Baqaa camp outside Amman, Jordan, also rallied. "Our suicide operations are in retaliation for Sharon," read a banner in Yarmouk, where the protesters numbered about 3,000.
In the Palestinian-ruled West Bank, dozens of foreigners demonstrated in front of Israeli tanks, chanting slogans to protest Israel's incursion.
"The Palestinian people's suffering is not understood" in the United States, said Maya Ramnath, one of the Beit Jalla protesters. "I felt very strongly about moving against the tide of opinion that is happening in my country."
The protesters in Beit Jalla are part of a larger group of foreigners in the region on a mission of international solidarity with the Palestinian people. Two of its members stayed with Mr. Arafat during the Israeli siege.
Members of the group some of them seasoned anti-globalization demonstrators had already traveled to the Gaza Strip and planned more protests in Bethlehem, Jenin and Ramallah in the West Bank.
Groups of French and Italian demonstrators were blocked from entering Israel when they arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv. They were eventually allowed to enter the country after they resisted being forcibly placed on planes returning to Italy and France.


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