Palestinian Protesters in Lebanon Threaten Israel over ‘Massacres’
Palestinian demonstrations gripped Lebanon for the second consecutive Sunday day amid warnings that Israel will not be safe as long as Arabs continue to be "massacred" for the sake of Jerusalem and restoring Palestinian rights.
"There won't be any security for the enemy Israel, neither from southern Lebanon nor from the Jordanian borders if massacres continue against our people," warned local Palestinian official Munir Maqdah.
Speaking in Ain el-Helweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Maqdah said the armed struggle against Israel "will continue until the Palestinians regain all their rights".
Thousands of Palestinians marched in the sprawling refugee camps Ain el-Helweh and Rashidiyeh, both in southern Lebanon, as well as in Beirut's Shatila and Burj el-Barajneh camps to unleash their wrath.
Around 20 youths took their anger to Lebanese-Israeli border where they shouted across the barbed wire at Israeli soldiers posted 20 meters (yards) away: "Israelis, Assassins" and other slogans before dispersing peacefully.
Ali Faysal, a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told AFP the protests were the biggest and noisiest in years.
"The bloody repression waged by the Israeli army against our brothers in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza has ignited passions in the camps in Lebanon to the utmost," Faysal said.
More than 30 people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded in clashes with Israeli troops since Thursday in violence triggered when Israeli right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited east Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif.
The site known as the Noble Sanctuary to the Arabs is called Temple Mount by the Jews who like the Muslims consider it a key religious shrine.
Protesters in Burj el-Barajneh came out spontaneously into the narrow streets in small groups throughout the day, as Muslim prayers and patriotic songs rang out from loudspeakers across the camp.
Some youths burned tyres at the entrance to the impoverished camp near Beirut airport before the crowd swelled to about 1,000 at dusk in the main street carrying giant posters depicting Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine which is in the Noble Sanctuary, an AFP photographer at the scene said.
The demonstrators marched to the "Martyrs' Cemetery" inside the camp and there, in tribute to Palestinians who fell fighting for the right to return to their homeland, they burned Israeli flags.
There were similar scenes of anger in Shatila camp where 2,000 Palestinians carrying Palestinian flags vowed to defend Palestine "With our blood and our souls."
In Rashidiyeh 1,000 Palestinian protesters demanded "the resumption of the armed struggle against Israel".
"The one responsible for the massacre of Sabra and Shatila must be punished," said a banner strung across the street of one of the camps.
The slogan referred to Sharon, who was forced to step down as defence minister after an Israeli commission found him partly responsible for massacres by Lebanese Christian militia at Sabra and Shatila during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
About 367,000 Palestinians live in Lebanon, half of them in 12 refugee camps scattered across the country. They or their forebears mostly fled their homes after the creation of Israel in 1948 – BEIRUT (AFP)
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