Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is facing a storm of criticism after Palestinian police killed two Palestinians,including a 12 year old boy, and wounded at least 200 in demonstrations yesterday in the Gaza Strip protesting the USbombing of Afghanistan. Yasser Arafat’s government took two unprecedented steps–closing Gaza City’s universities tosilence Islamic critics and barring foreign reporters from the Gaza Strip to prevent coverage of the events. OsamaBin Laden’s videotaped message on Sunday, which said the US would not be secure until the people of Palestine aresecure, helped to spark the demonstrations by elements of the Islamic group Hamas.
The moves came as Palestinian President Yasser Arafat spoke today at an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of theOrganization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Qatar, calling for international action to rid the world ofterrorism.
Arafat also told the ministers gathered there that Israel was taking advantage of last month’s attacks in the UnitedStates to launch new offensives against Palestinians. Israeli troops have killed at least 27 Palestinians sinceArafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres reached a tentative ceasefire more than a week ago.
- Bassem Eid, Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Project.
- Gila Svirsky, Women in Black member (Jerusalem), co-founder of the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace.She has also been executive director of Bat Shalom and B’Tselem.