Analysis: Arab opinion hardens : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Sunday, 8 October, 2000, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK Analysis: Arab opinion hardens

By Frank Gardner in Cairo The language of violence has returned to the Middle East following the Israeli-Palestinian clashes which have left more than 80 people dead, most of them Palestinians.

After years of growing diplomatic ties with Washington, Yemen has called for military aid to be sent to fight America's ally, Israel.

On Saturday, Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, called for the opening of Arab borders to supply arms and fighters to the Palestinian people.

Anger across the Arab world Such bellicose statements are more reminiscent of the 1980s, when Yemen gave refuge to thousands of Palestinian fighters and their families.

It shows how far Arab opinion has hardened against Israel in the wake of the killing of so many Palestinians by Israelis in recent days.

Show of unity

For the Arab world, this is a rare chance to show some unity.

Egypt's President Mubarak has convened an emergency summit for later this month, and almost every Arab country is attending.

So serious is the Arab-Israeli confrontation that even Kuwait and Iraq are prepared to put aside their differences and sit at the same table.

But out in the Arab street, many remain sceptical about what such a summit can achieve by talking.

The perceived military victory over Israel by the Lebanese fighters of Hezbollah this year has had a profound effect on Arabs.

Increasingly, they are convinced that the only way to win what they see as a just peace from Israel is to do so by force, and with every new Palestinian at Israeli hands, that belief is gaining ground.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 08, 2000

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