Unprecedented Degree of Outrage: Arab World Erupts

Many Arab protesters call their own governments "complicit" in Israeli strikes.

ByMIMI DAHER
December 29, 2008, 2:12 PM

JERUSALEM, Dec. 29, 2008 -- Tens of thousands of furious protesters have taken to the streets across the Arab world to express their outrage over the Israeli military assault on Gaza, in which more than 320 Palestinians have reportedly been killed so far.

From Cairo to Beirut to Amman, Sanaa and Damascus, protesters raised banners calling the Israeli offensive a "war crime" and "massacre," in an unprecedented outpouring of anger.

But their banners also targeted what they termed the "Arab Silence" and "incompetence" regarding the assaults on Gaza. Many of them chanted slogans against the Arab regimes, accusing them of complicity in the Gaza offensive.

In Amman, Jordan, a few members of the Jordanian parliament burned the Israeli flag in the parliament itself and raised banners calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

Protesters who took to the streets of the Jordanian capital called for the annulment of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel and called for "halting all contacts with the Zionist enemy." Another protester said that the "Israeli ambassador to Amman is a shame to this country." In Yemen, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets and gathered in a stadium in Sanaa. They criticized Arab leaders for their "silence" toward the situation in Gaza.

For the third day in a row, Egypt has come under enormous criticism by the Arab street for not opening its border with Gaza to allow medicine and medical equipment to pass through.

The Rafah crossing is the only remaining gate between the Gaza Strip and the outer world, as the Israeli army has closed all the other crossings. Demonstrators accused the Egyptian government of "helping Israel tighten its grip on Gaza."

Since the beginning of the offensive there has been an escalation in anger against the Egyptian regime, both by Hamas and by some Arab media outlets. This criticism, which many observers see as biased, unfair and harsh, has moved very quickly to Arab streets, with protestors calling on the Egyptian government to open the Rafah border.

In Beirut, thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the Egyptian embassy in a protest against Cairo's actions.

Nasrallah: 'Exact Copy' of Second Lebanon War

Elsewhere in Beirut, Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on the Egyptian government to open the Rafah crossing and to allow medicine, donated by various Arab countries, to pass through to the Gaza strip.

Nasrallah, whose party was engaged in a bloody war with Israel in 2006, said in a speech broadcast at a rally in south Beirut that "what is happening now in Gaza is an exact copy of what happened to us in the 2006 war."

"Hundreds of thousands of people have been flocking the streets. These are good signs," he said. "We haven't seen this even in the 2006 [war]. There is a clear progress as far as the mobility of the nation is concerned."

Nasrallah called on Arab nations to keep mobilizing against the Israeli offensive, saying, "there is an aggressive will that requires confrontation."

The Hizbollah leader ended his speech by calling for a third Intifada [uprising] in the Palestinian territories and for other uprisings throughout the Arab world.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events