Arab Protesters condemn Israel’s Gaza air strikes
Arab protesters in Damascus and Beirut burned Israeli flags, and governments across the Middle East condemned Israeli air strikes against the Hamas-led Gaza Strip that left at least 285 people dead, Bloomberg reported.
In Beirut, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of demonstrators protesting the attacks. More than 50,000 people took to the streets of Egyptian cities, Al-Arabiya television reported. Students outside Cairo University burned flags of Israel, the television showed.
At least 10 Arab governments agreed to hold an emergency meeting in Doha, Qatar, to call for an end to the attacks, which have led to the largest death toll in the seaside strip since 1967, Al-Jazeera television reported.
"Divisions and the polarization among Arab governments is so big that even if the heads of state agree to meet, their resolutions will be just ink on paper" said Emad Gad, an analyst with the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies. "The Arab street will continue to be inflamed."
The governments of Yemen, Syria, Qatar and Libya condemned the attacks. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit summoned Israeli Ambassador Shalom Cohen to protest the bombings, the ministry said in a statement. Saudi King Abdullah spoke with President George W. Bush and called for international action to stop the attacks, Saudi Arabia's Al-Hayat newspaper said. Saudi Arabia's legislative Shura council condemned "the brutal attacks on Gaza."
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad called on the United Nations to "stop massacres against defenseless Palestinians," the state-run Syrian news agency said.