lebanon protest 298.88.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
About 8,000 Palestinians marched in Lebanon's largest refugee camp Sunday to protest the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, while top Hamas officials in Lebanon and Syria pledged not to release kidnapped IDF soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, unless Israel freed Palestinian prisoners.
Men, veiled women and children - some in military uniforms - demonstrated in the Ein el-Hilweh camp Sunday to protest Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The camp, located on the outskirts of the southern port city of Sidon, is home to some 70,000 Palestinians.
The Ein el-Hilweh protest was led by Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, and visiting Palestinian legislator Mariam Farhat. They were joined by representatives of the Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions.
Protesters carried banners criticizing international silence on the Israeli assault.
"Where is the world's honor toward the crimes of Zionism? The resistance will continue until the [Israeli] occupation is eliminated," read one banner.
Some shouted slogans through loudspeakers, calling for Hamas' military wing, the Izzadin al-Kassam Brigades, to fire rockets on Israel.
Addressing the crowd, Hamdan said the Israeli soldier would not be released until Israel freed Palestinian prisoners. Attacks on Israel would continue until occupation forces were expelled from Palestinian Territories, he said.
"The resistance is our choice and our right as long as our territory is occupied," Hamdan said. "The captors of the Zionist soldier will not give any information about him before our prisoners are released."
Hamdan said Hamas would not accept foreign guarantees that Palestinians would be released in exchange for freeing Shalit.
"The only guarantee is to find our prisoners with us before the Israeli captive is released," he said.