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Thousands March in Lebanon to Protest Israeli Clampdown

December 21, 1987|Associated Press

SIDON, Lebanon — Palestinians and Lebanese marched by the thousands through the streets of Sidon on Sunday, vowing to step up the fight against Israel to avenge the violent clampdown on Arabs in Israel's occupied territories.

Shops, restaurants and other businesses closed as about 7,500 protesters, some waving Palestinian flags, marched and shouted: "We shall escalate armed struggle until we liberate Jerusalem and all other occupied Arab lands!"

Sidon, a predominantly Sunni Muslim city of 25,000 about 25 miles south of Beirut, has two Palestinian refugee camps and Palestine Liberation Organization bases.

In Egypt, the government summoned Israeli Ambassador Moshe Sasson and delivered another harshly worded protest about Israel's "oppressive and brutal actions" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Two prominent Jordanian-Palestinian members of Jordan's Parliament also denounced the crackdown and praised the Palestinians as heroes.

In Tehran, Iran's Cabinet offered to treat Palestinians who were hurt in the unrest. Prime Minister Hussein Moussavi made the offer after the weekly Cabinet session.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said the protest given to Sasson read in part: "This is a flagrant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, and a continuation of these violations and actions will threaten the peace process in the Middle East." It was the fifth time that Egypt has expressed its dismay at the latest violence.

In Kuwait, the daily newspaper Al Watan criticized the United States for not acting to halt the violence.

"We don't understand the failure of Israel's protectors to do anything, even say a word condemning the abduction, siege and torture of an entire unarmed people in the occupied territories by Israel," it said.

The English-language Kuwait Times said: "The authorities in Washington are hedging, prevaricating or just looking the other way.

"They see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil when the whole world is appalled at Israeli misdeeds."

In Amman, Jordan, Hazem Nuseibeh, a former ambassador to the United Nations, praised the "Palestinian heroes" who stood up against Israeli troops. His remarks came at a meeting of the royally appointed upper house of Parliament.

Walid Salah, a former attorney general, told the house, "We should praise the heroes, our people under the occupation, for standing bravely in the face of our vicious enemy which aims at weakening the Arab community."

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