Arabs Decry Cease-Fire Agreement
Oct. 17, 2000
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Many across the Arab world scoffed Tuesday at word of a Palestinian-Israeli cease-fire agreement, criticizing moderate leaders for talking to Israel and calling for a continuation of the fight against the Jewish state.
``They tell us something and do something else,'' Jordanian Yara Damegh said Tuesday as news of the cease-fire agreement emerged from a Middle East summit at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik.
``The summit aims at aborting the Palestinian uprising to ensure the safety and security of Israel and American interests in the region,'' said Damegh, a 31-year-old Jordanian bank clerk.
In Iraq, the Cabinet said after a meeting chaired by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein that ``regaining Palestine will only be through liberation, jihad and by mobilizing the Arab nation's potentials.''
A statement by Jordan's 13 opposition groups said the Sharm el-Sheik parley ``undermines the Arab summit'' scheduled to be held in Egypt on Saturday. The groups are mainly Muslim fundamentalist and leftist parties opposed to a Middle East settlement.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II said the Sharm meetings were necessary to restrain anti-peace elements threatening to torpedo nine years of laborious Middle East peacemaking.
``The chaos would move quickly to neighboring areas, threatening the whole region because of the shortsighted extremists who do not care for the people's future,'' Mubarak said at the summit's opening on Monday. Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab states at peace with Israel.
But the endeavor is scorned by many Muslim communities. Across the region, hard-line governments and residents were calling for jihad, or holy war, against Israel, while others wanted a boycott of the Jewish state.
In Iran, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said the ``imposed peace has given the Palestinian nation nothing.'' He said the ``popular intefadeh (uprising) movement is the voice of protest by the Palestinian nation, which seeks martyrdom to realize its trampled rights.''
In Egypt, students for a second day staged protests against the summit on their campuses, but some people on the street said they favored a settlement.
``They (Israelis) want to drag us into war, but we should not go to war,'' said taxi driver Fouad Abdou.
In Syria, 12 popular Palestinian organizations protested in front of the U.N. offices in the capital city, Damascus, urging the continuation of the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. In Jordan, people urged their government to sever relations with Israel.
``The summit is nonsense because Israel only understands the language of force and the only solution is jihad to restore our rights in Palestine,'' said Samer Abu Kamar, 28, a librarian.