"Death to Israel" chanted across Mideast anti-war protests
The Jerusalem Post

29 March 2003

About 4,000 Lebanese children chanted "Death to America" in a protest organized Thursday by the militant Hezbollah group, which is on the US list of terrorist organizations.

In another in the daily series of protests across the Mideast since the US-British attacks on Iraq began last week, thousands of Palestinians marched in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, asking Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to attack Israel with chemical weapons.

The children marching in Beirut were between six and 10 years old.

Waving Hezbollah and Palestinian flags, the children shouted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" as they called for a halt to the US-British attacks on Iraq.

A model of a US missile carried by the children read, "Bush's gift to Iraqi children."

"Today's march is a show of support from Lebanon's children to children in Iraq and Palestine against American terrorism," Hezbollah media chief Sheik Hassan Ezzedine told The Associated Press.

He said they delivered a letter to the UN House in downtown Beirut addressed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which demanded the protection of Iraqi children and the halting of the "American aggression" against Iraq.

Demonstrations were held across Lebanon.

In the eastern Lebanese village of Khiara, one banner held by the 6,000 students praised Germany and France for their strong opposition to a war against Iraq. "Greetings to the Arab republic of France, and to the Arab kingdom of Germany," it read.

About 2,000 Lebanese students marched from their school in Sidon to the southern city's main square, where legislator Osama Saad praised the Iraqi people's "heroic resistance" and called for a boycott of American and British products.

"The American-British invasion will fail in Iraq like the Zionists failed in their occupation of Lebanese territory," he said, referring to Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, ending an 18-year occupation.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, in a statement published Thursday, criticized attacks against embassies and foreign cultural and diplomatic missions during anti-war demonstrations, saying such acts do not serve the objectives of protests.

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians marched through the streets, holding posters of Saddam and waving Iraqi and Palestinian flags. They stomped over Israeli and US flags placed on the ground.

"All of us believe that this is a time that America should be defeated and only he is capable of doing that and bringing back the hope and joy of thousands of families who are victims of Israeli and American terror," said one marcher, Fatima Mukhtar, 55, who wore a headband with the inscription "We Love Saddam."

In the Syrian capital, Damascus, some 1,000 Syrians and Palestinians marched through main streets to protest the war. Demonstrators carried effigies of US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair with placards reading: "No war on Iraq." They also carried a casket symbolizing "dead Arab honor."

A senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official, Farouk Kaddoumi, told reporters in Damascus that the battle for Iraq was the battle for Arab national security.

"Everything depends on us," he said. "An Iraqi victory is a must and would save the region from American plans."

About 10,000 Bahrainis, led by turbaned Muslim clerics, marched through the diplomatic district of Manama chanting "Down! Down! USA!" and carrying black flags in a gesture of mourning for Iraqi casualties. They also burned US flags and an effigy of US President George W. Bush.

The gulf island of Bahrain is home to the US Navy 5th Fleet.

In Tripoli, Libya, about 1,000 Libyans fasted for one day and gathered in the evening at a mosque, where they prayed for protection and support for the Iraqi people.

Thousands turned out for demonstrations organized in Egypt, Yemen and Jordan as well.