December 29th, 2008
08:48 AM ET

Arabs around the world take to the streets in protest

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/28/gaza.israel.international.reaction/art.paris.protest.gi.jpg caption="People in the French capital Paris demonstrate against the Israeli air strikes on Gaza."]

Octavia Nasr
CNN Arab Affairs Editor

The dramatic developments in Gaza drove Arab citizens to the streets where they displayed anger directed first and foremost at their own governments.

In Yemen, thousands of demonstrators gathered in the capital Sanaa shouting slogans in support of Gaza and its residents and burning Israeli and US flags. They cried out against the League of Arab States which delayed discussion on the crisis. One demonstrator telling the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, “The Arab league is worthless.. They're all worthless leaders and they should all go home."

In Sudan, the scene isn’t much different. A woman wearing the Hamas banner around her forehead told Al-Manar TV, “Where are the Arab leaders? Where are their actions? Enough condemnation and finger-pointing.. Show Gaza your support."

Students at the University of Qatar boycotted their classes and demonstrated their support for Gaza. One student spoke excitedly about what he saw as his moral responsibility, "Our ancestors claimed that the news about the Palestinian disaster reached them late in 1948.” He then concluded, “We have a responsibility to our children and the future generations. We can't tell them we heard about the Gaza disaster of 2008 but didn't do anything."

Jordan’s parliament held a special session in solidarity with Gaza.. But one parliamentarian defied the Speakers orders and burned the Israeli flag before stepping on it in the middle of applause from some of his colleagues.. The images played repeatedly on Arab media.

Egypt was the recipient of much criticism in this crisis. Hamas supporters blaming it for selling the Palestinians out by being too close and too friendly with Israel and the United States. From Egypt, political analysts retaliated, blaming Hamas for ending the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, thus inviting the Israeli air strikes. One expert speaking to the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya blamed Hamas for “presenting Gazans on a silver plate to the Israeli monster." He then blamed Syria and Iran for not taking military action to stop the bloodshed in Gaza.

The Gaza coverage is undoubtedly a major story on Arab media.. While anchors utilize special animations and graphics to detail how things got to where they are today, reporters discuss with a grave tone how much worse things can get before anything can get better.

Filed under: Israel • Middle East • Octavia Nasr
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