From WorldNetDaily March 24, 2003
IN THE HOLY LAND
Joy in Ramallah over capture of U.S. soldiers
'Oh Saddam, we love you, why don't you annihilate all the Jews'
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Palestinians in Ramallah are celebrating Iraq's capture of American and British soldiers.
A policeman at Yasser Arafat's battered headquarters today said the news made it a "big day for the Iraqi people and all the Arabs and Muslim," the Jerusalem Post reported.
"Everyone here was happy ... to see pictures of American soldiers in Iraqi custody," the officer said. "This is a big blow for Bush and Blair. I don't believe they will be able to continue with the war now that many of their soldiers are being killed or taken prisoner."
The Post said one of the policeman's colleagues in Arafat's presidential guard, Force 17, said the news made him so happy that "I felt like kissing all the people around me."
"Saddam has once again proven that he is a great leader, a defender of Arab rights," he said. "His men are brave. They have been able to teach the American and British dogs an unforgettable lesson."
The Iraqis, he said, "are much better at war because they have more experience."
"The American and British soldiers are cowards and spoiled kids," the Force 17 officer said.
'Oh beloved Saddam, bomb Tel Aviv'
The Jerusalem paper described the mood in central Ramallah's Manarah Square as euphoric.
"They have just shot down two Apache helicopters," an excited merchant shouted hysterically as he ran out of his shop. "This is unbelievable. The Americans are losing the war. Iraq is going to be Bush's Vietnam."
Adorned with Iraqi flags and posters of Saddam, the square has been the scene of daily demonstrations, the Post said. The streets were deserted this morning, however, when locals gathered in front of TV sets many in the shops and cafes to watch the broadcast of a defiant speech by Saddam.
Shortly after the speech was aired, about 50 girls in green and white school uniforms marched toward the square with signs denouncing U.S. "aggression" on Iraq, the Jerusalem paper reported.
The girls were greeted by shopkeepers and others with "Allahu Akbar" [God is great] as they chanted, "Oh beloved Saddam, bomb, bomb Tel Aviv."
Some of the girls, who were younger than age 10, urged the Iraqi leader to destroy Israel.
"Oh Saddam, we love you, why don't you annihilate all the Jews."
They also had a message for President George W. Bush and pro-Western Arab leaders.
"Bush, soon Saddam will bury you,"and "[King] Abdullah [of Jordan], your people don't want you, we hope you will follow your father."
'Only dictator is Bush'
A Palestinian journalist said the capture of coalition soldiers brought a sense of pride to Palestinians after morale had been dampened in the first few days of the war.
"Until yesterday, the feeling here was bad," he told the Post. "But when the pictures of the American prisoners and bodies of soldiers were shown on TV, there was a lot of excitement. It's very moving to watch Arab soldiers defeating American and British soldiers and killing them."
The journalist added that "Saddam is now more popular than ever."
"The people here adore him," he said. "The feeling here is that Saddam has restored Arab confidence and dignity."
Footage of elated Iraqi villagers and militiamen waving their rifles next to an Apache helicopter stirred Zuhair Karajeh, a 42-year-old laborer, as he ate in a diner.
"The Iraqis are very brave and we are proud of them," he said. "An old man with a rifle was able to shoot down one of the world's most advanced helicopters. Did you see Bush's face when he was talking about his prisoners last night? It was great to see this big devil almost breaking into tears."
Karajeh does not see Saddam as a dictator.
"I would like to see Saddam as the leader of the Arab and Muslim world," he said as others in the café nodded in agreement. "The only dictator is Bush, who has waged a war against the Arabs and Muslims."
Hasan Kamleh, 37, a hotel receptionist, says he expects the war to end soon because of the U.S. and British casualties.
"The Americans and the British can't put up with the losses," he said. "They will have to end the war ahead of time because they are losing too many soldiers. Honestly, I didn't believe that Saddam stood a chance, but when I saw the bodies of the American soldiers, I understood that this is a war which the Arabs could win."
Palestinian Authority media also reflected the euphoria expressed on the street.
"On the fourth day of the war, Iraq has presented to the Arabs and all the peoples of the world proof that it is possible to defeat the U.S.," said Hasan al Kashef, a respected columnist and senior PA official.
The largest Palestinian daily, Al Quds, ran a cartoon today that depicted a coalition pilot hiding in bushes next to the wreckage of his plane. The Post said the panicking pilot in the cartoon radios Bush to tell him that he sees a thousand Iraqis holding Kalashnikov rifles, but none of them have brought him roses and gifts.
Another cartoon in the PA's official organ al Ayyam bears the message that American
soldiers will return from Baghdad only in coffins. It portrays a frightened American
soldier reluctantly marching toward Baghdad with a coffin draped with the U.S. flag.
The most popular name given to newborn males in the Palestinian city of Nablus is Saddam.
"Many Palestinians are proud of this name," said the London-based Arab daily al Quds al Arabi, according to the Jerusalem Post.
"Many families are also keen on keeping posters of Saddam Hussein in their homes," reported Ala Badarneh from Nablus, the West Bank's largest city.
"Usually you would find pictures of Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat together at previous meetings between the two," he said. "Many people are buying these pictures in the market and keeping them at home."
Nablus erupts in a state of euphoria each time news spreads of a downed U.S. helicopter or captured American soldier, the reporter said.
"Drivers start honking their horns, passersby start chanting and others fire shots into the air," said Badarneh.
On the music scene, an Egyptian song praising Saddam and Iraq has become the latest hit in the West Bank, heard on the streets and in markets, the Arab daily said.
The London paper also noted that press conferences by the Iraqi information minister draw a huge audience in the Palestinian territories, usually sending people rushing home to their TV sets.
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