The Guardian April 2, 2003


Middle East: thousands march against Bush, Sharon

by Hans Lebrecht

Many thousands of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel marched on Saturday 
March 22 through the main streets of Nazareth, Sakhnin, Umm-el Fahm and 
other Arab inhabited or mixed cities in Israel to protest against Bush's 
aggression against Iraq. At the head of these marches were Arab Knesset 
Members, city and village mayors, and other leading politicians. At all 
these massive and militant demonstrations, organised by the Monitoring 
Committee of the million-strong Arab minority, Jewish citizens from 
progressive and democratic circles took part.

In downtown Haifa, at a very busy street crossing at the Allenby Street and 
Wadi Nisnass (near the Arab Ghetto neighbourhood, a strong vigil against 
the Bush war was held also on Saturday under the auspices of the Haifa 
Peace Forum.

"We are protesting the aggressive and destructive war, which the Bush 
administration is leading in Alliance with the old British colonialists 
against an Arab nation in order to gain anew the control of that country's 
oil recourses and en route to impose the new colonialist so-called 'New 
World Order' upon the peoples of Central Asia and the Middle East", the 
spokesman of the Monitory Committee, Abed Inbitawy stated to the media.

"We do our part in the struggle to stop that Texas trigger-happy cowboy 
policy of Bush and his accomplices, who are causing pain and sufferings to 
the people of Iraq".

He added that those demonstrations are also directed against the Sharon 
Government policies towards the Palestinian brothers and sisters in the 
occupied territories, "which are likely to get dangerously worse under 
cover of the war on Iraq".

He stressed that the actions are in no way supporting the Saddam Hussein 
regime in Iraq, the fate of which is the sole matter of the Iraqi people, 
but are directed against the war criminal Bush-Blair assault against Iraq 
started in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Security 
Council position.

Already on Thursday last week, hundreds of anti-war militants of the Gush-
Shalom peace bloc, the Women4Peace coalition, the Alternative Center, a 
group of occupation army service objectors (representing more than a 
thousand objectors, officers and men), and other groups of the peace 
coalition held a vigorous "moving vigil" in front of the Defence Ministry 
in Tel-Aviv.

They moved from one entrance gate to the others around the huge ministry 
compound, in which also the Army Headquarters are situated, bordering on 
three streets. At one gate, the protestors were attacked by Military Police 
forces and mounted police, and dispersed.

Some of the protestors were temporarily detained. However the anti-war 
vigil participants assembled again at the next gate and continued their 
action with even more vigor.

In almost all of the Israeli occupied Palestinian cities in the West Bank 
and Gaza Strip, huge, exceptionally militant demonstrations and mass 
rallies took place over weekend.

"Stop the USA-British war crime aggression against our Iraqi brother 
nation!", "Long live Saddam Hussein, the heroic defender of the Arab Nation 
against the brutal colonialist Bush war!", and "Stop the Bush-Sharon Terror 
Alliance!", were some of the placards and banners held high and sung out in 
rhymes.

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