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.