Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon Seek to Join Intifada against Israel
Some 20,000 Palestinian refugees expressed willingness on Friday to join the uprising in the Palestinian territories against Israel and called on Arab states to expel US diplomats.
"The Arabs should kick out American ambassadors accredited in their countries and stop all normalization with Israel," said Sultan Abul Aynain, secretary-general in Lebanon of the mainstream Fateh movement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"America is the accomplice of Israel in this war of extermination of the Palestinian people, but they will not be able to prevent us from building our independent state on our land," he told about 7,000 protestors at the Rashidiyeh refugee camp near the southern port city of Tyre.
Abul Aynain was addressing a rare protest unifying the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the fundamentalist movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine.
Munir Maqdah, a senior Fateh military officer, called on the Arabs "to destroy the American and Israeli embassies in the Arab world."
"The Arab countries should open their borders so that the Palestinians of the diaspora can efficiently help the uprising of their brothers in the Palestinian territories confronting the Israeli occupier," he said before 5,000 protestors at the Ain al-Helweh camp at the outskirts of the southern port city of Sidon.
During the demonstration in Ain al-Helweh, the crowd shouted: "Bashar, Lahoud open the borders," in a call directed at Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and the leader of powerful neighbor Syria, Bashar al-Assad.
"Beloved Saddam, destroy Tel Aviv," they also chanted, referring to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, whose country offered Thursday to send more than one million volunteers to join a jihad (holy war) against Israel alongside the Palestinians.
A group of youths waved Palestinian flags while carrying models of Scud missiles that Saddam fired on Tel Aviv during the 1990 Gulf War, while others torched the Israeli and US flags.
The protestors carried large effigies of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak with blood running down from their teeth and Nazi swastikas on their chests.
In northern Lebanon, some 3,000 Palestinian refugees demonstrated at the Beddawi camp, calling for armed struggle against Israel and for declaring an independent Palestinian state.
Some 5,000 other refugees at the Nahr al-Bared, also in the north, organized a sit-in during which they announced "the death of the Oslo" peace accords between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
In the south, the Lebanese army prevented Palestinian refugees from reaching the border with Israel for the first time, a day after Israel warned that protestors throwing projectiles over the fence will be shot at -- RASHIDIYEH, Lebanon (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)