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protest against israeli settlements

Several thousand angry demonstrators in Beirut and in Sidon marched on Friday to condemn Israel’s plans to build new settlements and its reconstruction of the Hurva synagogue, as religious leaders called for actions instead of words to fight Israel.

About 3,000 Lebanese and Palestinians gathered in front of the Economic and Social Committee for Western Asia (ESCWA) office in Beirut holding a large Palestinian flag to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Israel announced last week that it planned to build about 1,600 new housing units in occupied Jerusalem, drawing international criticism.

Some 300 Palestinians and Lebanese gathered in downtown Sidon to protest Israel’s actions, while in the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh, approximately 1,000 people marched in the streets to protest Israel’s actions.

The spokesperson of the camp’s Islamic Forces group, Sheikh Jamal Khattab, urged Arab countries that have relations with Israel to close their embassies because they constituted “espionage offices” for Israel. Khattab also asked Arabs to unite and replace words with actions in condemning Israeli violations.

Photo: A Palestinian child from the Hamas movement, holds up a Koran as he shouts slogans during an anti-Israel protest organized by Palestinian and Lebanese parties in Beirut March 19, 2010. The protest was held against Israeli settlement building plans in Jerusalem. Reuters

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