Arab rulers and groups denounce 'racist' and 'brutal' killings by Israelis

AMMAN, JORDAN — AMMAN, Jordan -- Arabs reacted with outrage to the Israeli killings of at least 19 Palestinians in Jerusalem yesterday, and Iraq's supporters strengthened their demands for direct linkage between the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Persian Gulf crisis.

The Jordanian government, which has been sympathetic to Iraq, denounced the killings as "criminal and racist" and called for international action to prevent such "inhuman" acts.


Angry Palestinians protested in several Jordanian refugee camps, and police braced for more protests today in this nation that is heavily populated with Palestinians.

In a statement sent to Reuters in Amman, one Islamic group, Hamas, called on Palestinians in the occupied territories to observe a three-day strike and revolt against Israeli rule.


"Cover your land with blood, become martyrs and let the land burn under the feet of the occupiers," Hamas said.

The Egyptian leadership, the only Arab government to have diplomatic relations with Israel, accused the Israelis of "brutal repression" and said, "Israel's repressive steps have surpassed all limits."

Iraq's ruling Baath party threatened, "This vicious crime will not go without retaliation, and the Arab nation is certainly capable to retaliate, and it will."

The officially-controlled state radio in Syria, whose troops are with the multinational force confronting Iraq, blamed Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait for making the shootings possible by distracting international attention from the plight of Palestinians.

In the Syrian capital of Damascus, a spokesman for a Palestinian splinter group called the Fatah Uprising urged Palestinians in the occupied territories to fight with "whatever weapons they have."

The Palestine Liberation Organization demanded that the United Nations protect Palestinian residents of the territories and called for Israeli withdrawal "before the explosive situation becomes catastrophic."

Bassam Abu Sharif of the PLO warned that Arab masses would no longer tolerate "double standards" toward implementation of U.N. resolutions on Palestine and the gulf crisis.

He was contrasting the rapid implementation of Security Council economic and military resolutions against Iraq with the lack of action on the U.N. demand for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied lands passed in the wake of the 1967 Middle East war.


"We call upon the new chairman of the Security Council, who is the British representative, to take immediate action to protect the Palestinians and to start implementation of [U.N.] Resolution 242 [on Israeli withdrawal] before the explosive situation becomes catastrophic," Mr. Sharif told a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia, where the PLO has its headquarters.

The PLO executive also called for an Arab boycott of states that were supporting Israel with weapons and money or that did not insist on Israel's withdrawal.

President Bush has rejected any direct link between the gulf and the Arab- Israeli conflict, but he has suggested that Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait could create "opportunities" for a wider Middle East settlement.

French President Francois Mitterrand and British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd also have called for a new Middle East peace initiative once Iraq has unconditionally withdrawn form Kuwait.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said Aug. 12 that he would be willing to negotiate withdrawal if Israel would withdraw from the occupied territories and if Syria would quit Lebanon.

Before yesterday's Jerusalem killings, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat told reporters in Amman, where he met King Hussein Sunday, that an international consensus was emerging for linkage between the Persian Gulf and the Arab-Israeli crises.


"What was said to be impossible is emerging as a reality today. . . . The linkage is becoming possible now," he said.