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Israeli Terror Bombing Revives Painful Memories
JEDDAH, 15 July 2006 — Friday is usually the quietest day of the week in Jeddah, as people direct their energies to prayer and their families, but this day was more solemn than most as a sense of foreboding seemed to grab hold of the city with news spreading about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and the widening conflict in the Middle East.
Newspapers were selling quickly as Saudis sought more information about Lebanon’s plunge back into war.
Almost all the Arabic newspapers ran banner headlines with heart-rending photographs of the victims of the Israeli bombardment.
“Lebanon in Flames,” screamed Okaz Arabic daily, “Israel Strangles Lebanon,” reported Al-Jazirah. “Israel Tightens Siege of Lebanon,” said Asharq Al-Awsat, which also highlighted a statement by the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt blasting Hezbollah for escalating tensions in the region. “Hezbollah Operation Whets Israeli Appetite for War, Hostilities,” wrote Al-Eqtisadiah.
Most of the Saudi newspapers highlighted the Saudi statement in which the Kingdom placed the blame squarely on Hezbollah. One person described the Saudi stand as premature, but others welcomed it and described it as sagacious.
“The Kingdom is trying to defuse tensions. Nobody gains from war. We have been in this situation before. Lebanon has seen the horrors of war. Plain destruction hurts the Arabs,” he said.
A Saudi official, quoted by the state Saudi Press Agency, said Hezbollah’s brazen capture of two Israeli soldiers was not legitimate. The Kingdom “clearly announces that there has to be a differentiation between legitimate resistance (to Israel) and uncalculated adventures.”
The statement continued, “The Kingdom sees that it is time for those elements to alone shoulder the full responsibility for this irresponsible behavior and that the burden of ending the crisis falls on them alone.”
But the anger on the street was palpable. All the Saudis who this correspondent spoke to supported Hamas, and many were angry about the US veto of a proposed UN resolution calling for a halt to Israel’s invasion of Gaza.