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Monday, July 31, 2006

Arab countries upset over Qana - but not for the reasons you think

The Arab countries that were trying to form a coalition against Hezbullah - led by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - are upset over the Qana bombing because "it plays right into Hezbullah's hands," according to an article in today's JPost by Khaled Abu Toameh. The incident is expected to trigger further and more massive protests on the streets of several Arab capitals, with demonstrators venting their frustration against Arab heads of state and governments, diplomats from the three countries, based in Jordan, told The Jerusalem Post.

The incident at Qana also may affect negotiations on the release of two Israeli hostages, according to Lebanese Shiite leader Nabih Berri, who is authorized to negotiate on Hezbullah's behalf. Berri told reporters in Beirut that "conditions for exchanging prisoners have now changed." He did not elaborate.
"What happened in Kana plays into the hands of Hizbullah and Muslim fundamentalists throughout the Arab world," said one diplomat. "We were praying to Allah that such an incident would not happen."

Another diplomat said that his government would now find it "extremely difficult" to sit on the side and watch as Lebanese women and children were being pulled out from the rubble.

"My government has been under attack for criticizing Hizbullah, which triggered this war by kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers," he said. "Now we are being attacked as traitors and many Arabs are accusing us of supporting Israel in its war against Hizbullah. But the incident at Kana has changed everything and we are now forced to take a tough stance against Israel."

According to the diplomat, the US will lose most of its allies in the Middle East unless it stops the Israel-Hizbullah war. "We are already under tremendous pressure," he noted.

"Many Arabs and Muslims are inciting against the Arab governments for failing to join the battle against Israel. In the next few days the pressure on the Arab presidents and monarchs will increase and there's a limit to how long they could hold."

The killings in Kana unleashed widespread anger across the Arab world, which appeared to be united in strongly condemning Israel for "deliberately" targeting innocent civilians. Images of rescue workers carrying bodies of children sent thousands of Arabs to the streets in spontaneous outburst of anger.

While most of the Arab world reacted with harsh rhetoric, the Palestinians vowed to step up their suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israel. Militias belonging to ['moderate'] Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen threatened to launch terrorist attacks on US interests in the region and to destroy Israeli embassies around the world.

Several other Palestinian militias issued a joint statement in which they announced their intention to step up their attacks on Israel in retaliation for the Kana deaths, saying Israel should expect an "earthquake" soon.
As if any of them ever needed an excuse for terrorism....


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