Enraged Yemenis demonstrate over Israeli attacks [Archives:2006/965/Front Page]

July 20 2006

SANA'A, July 19 ) “Israel: the enemy of God!” With these words, thousands of protestors began a huge rally Wednesday in the capital city of Sana'a. The rally first was organized in Al-Saba'een square, where several speeches were delivered before the protestors.

Protestors raised banners with slogans stating their rage at Israel and the United States. They also raised Lebanese flags, showing solidarity with those attacked both in Palestine and Lebanon.

Failing Arab leaders

The protestors held Arab leaders responsible toward Lebanon, criticizing the absence of a strong stance on their part. “We're very upset with the stance of our leaders, who have disappointed us. We didn't expect this from them,” said 38-year-old Nasser Al-Miraisi, waving a Lebanese flag high.

Meanwhile, the protestors renewed their calls for Arab leaders to “open the doors for jihad.” “We demand borders be opened for us to join our brothers in Palestine and Lebanon. What's the value of life if we keep watching them die day and night?” noted Ali Al-Harazi, who concluded his speech by blaming the neighboring countries of Lebanon and Palestine. Some participants at the demonstration also raised banners with slogans reading, “No dignity for Arabs without jihad” and “Jihad protects the nation's dignity.”

Condemning the Israeli attacks against Lebanon and Palestine is unacceptable, protestors expressed. They blamed the silent stance of Arab states, asking for a real, united stand in this regard. “To condemn attacks on Palestinians and Lebanese is a way of extending a hand to Israel. The Lebanese and Palestinians need no stance as such. They need to meet the requests of millions of Arabs to go and join them in the battle,” pointed out Sheikh Muhsen Fawaz, who came from Amran governorate to join the rally.


Protestors then headed toward the United Nations premises in Sana'a, where they submitted a letter of condemnation against the attacks to the U.N. representative, requesting terminating the war against the two countries. The demonstrators also announced their solidarity with the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples and affirmed their determination to continue making donations available for them.

Among the protestors were academics and members of Parliament, the Shoura Council, political parties and civil community organizations. The demonstration was in response to Parliament's call on Tuesday.

On the same front, hundreds of members of civil community organizations, political parties, the Islamic Conference and the Arabic Conference, in addition to other citizens, staged a sit-in Tuesday before the U.N. premises in Sana'a, expressing their concern about the Israeli attacks on Lebanese and Palestinians. They submitted a letter to the U.N. representative, asking Secretary-General Kofi Anan and U.N. members to force Israel to stop its attacks on the two countries.

Saleh reacts

“Arabs mustn't be transformed into police to protect Israel, which never considers any international legitimacy decisions. Likewise, we mustn't care about any international conventions that allowed Israel to use force against innocent people,” Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said in an interview Al-Arabiya Television aired Saturday, reacting to Israel's military action against Lebanon and Palestine.

He added that all parties, both Arabs and non-Arabs, must respect international legitimacy.

“It's the right of Arabs to resist occupation in southern Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Why do the international community and the European Union allow Israel to defend itself? It's every nation's right to struggle for independence and liberation and it's the right of Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians too to fight occupation forces that are backed by several nations,” Saleh went on.

The Yemeni leader continued, “Our support for our brothers is legal. We must back Palestinians without fear, as this has nothing to do with fanaticism or partiality.”

Saleh also stressed the necessity of activating an agreement on joint Arab defense. He noted that Arabs constitute a unified nation, that Palestine is part of this nation and that homes struck in Palestine belong to Arabs.

“Activating the joint defense agreement is due to force Israel to bear in mind that it is in a real confrontation with Arabs. But if the situation continues unchecked, Israel will continue its aggression against Arabs and violate international legitimacy,” Saleh said.

Mentioning Arab nations' commitments to pay their financial obligations to Palestine, Saleh clarified that if the joint defense agreement succeeds, Arab nations can fulfill their financial obligations to Palestinians via the Arab League and open the borders for youth to resist the occupation; then Israel will be forced to change its policy.

Regarding domestic affairs, Saleh likened governance in Yemen to a person dancing on the heads of serpents; if he's not on high alert, they will bite him. “We dialogued with elements of terrorism and returned them to the right track,” he commented.