Arab leaders urged not to compromise

Thousands of Egyptian university students have urged Arab leaders, meeting at a summit in Algeria, not to compromise with Israel with regard to the Middle East peace process.

    A bid to open the door to normal ties with Israel was rejected

    "We don't want (summit) meetings nor (peace) negotiations again," the students chanted as they attended a noisy demonstration on Tuesday at Cairo's Al-Azhar University.


    The demonstration marked the first anniversary of Israel's killing of Hamas founder Ahmad Yasin and his successor, Abd al-Aziz Rantisi. Both died in separate Gaza Strip missile attacks last year.  


    The demonstration also came as Arab heads of state and officials met in the Algerian capital on Tuesday to open the 22-member Arab League summit.


    Proposal rejected


    Before the meeting started, Arab leaders rejected a Jordanian proposal to open the door to normalising relations with Israel without demanding that it reach a full peace and return Arab lands seized in the 1967 Middle East war.


    Students in the Egyptian capital and the southern town of Asiut shared the same sentiments, while also burning Israeli and American flags and chanting "God is great" in Arabic.

    "We need a summit that declares war

    Egyptian students of Asiut University

    Some wearing black fatigues and hoods similar to those worn by Hamas fighters, the students marched in organised columns, at the heads of which were carried two empty wheelchairs, signifying the crippled Yasin with his picture on each.


    Muhammad Nazzal, a Hamas political bureau member, spoke to the rally by telephone from an undisclosed location, saying: "We tell our leaders who are meeting in Algiers that the Palestinian people will never lay down our arms and that the banner of resistance will remain high."


    South of Cairo, about 3000 students demonstrated inside Asiut University and Al-Azhar University in the same city, demanding that Arab leaders wage war on Israel 


    "Our leaders ... we need a summit that declares war," they chanted.


    Besides Nazzal, Hamas political leader Khalid Mishal and the deputy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muhammad Habib, also addressed Asiut University students in telephone calls blared across the campus by loudspeakers.
    Opponent charged


    Ayman Nur plans to contest for
    the Egyptian president's office

    In a separate development, Egyptian prosecutors formally charged opposition leader Ayman Nur on Tuesday with forging signatures to secure approval for his political party, referring for trial a case that has drawn international criticism and created friction between Egypt and Washington.


    Nur, 40, was ordered to stand trial along with six defendants from his Al-Ghad, or Tomorrow, Party.


    After 42 days in prison without charges, Nur, who has declared his intention to run for president in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections this autumn, was released on bail on 12 March.


    A trial date has not yet been set.



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