Last Updated: Sat Jan 15, 2011 17:00 pm (KSA) 14:00 pm (GMT)

Palestinians hail Tunisia’s uprising as inspirational

Tunisians carry their country’s flag alongside the Palestinian one in solidarity with their Arab brethrens
Tunisians carry their country’s flag alongside the Palestinian one in solidarity with their Arab brethrens

The Palestinians on Saturday hailed the uprising in Tunisia, saying the north African country's people were an inspiration to the rest of the Arab world.

In a carefully worded statement, the Palestine Liberation Organization, an umbrella group of Palestinian factions, praised the "the unparalleled courage of the Tunisian people and their heroic sacrifices to achieve their demands."

The PLO, which had close ties with ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, did not mention the deposed leader in the statement, instead choosing to emphasize the close ties between the Palestinians and the Tunisian people.

 We are with our brothers, the people of Tunisia, in choosing their leaders no matter what the sacrifices are 
Hamas\\\' Interior Minister Fathi Hammad

Tunisia was home to the PLO headquarters after the Palestinians were driven out of Lebanon in 1982 until the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.

"The Palestinian people, who have a debt of gratitude to the Tunisian people who embraced the Palestinian revolution and its leadership at a time when a lot of places wouldn't, stresses the deep brotherly link that connects our people with the great Tunisian people," the statement said.

Other Palestinian factions, particularly the Islamist groups, were more vocal in their support of the overthrow of Ben Ali.

"We congratulate the Tunisian people for their uprising against the tyrannical regime," Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad group, said after Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia.

The events in Tunisia "demonstrate that the Arab masses are able to bring change for freedom and rejection of tyranny and injustice," he told AFP.

The Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers also praised the events, saying it represented the will of the Tunisian people.

"We are with our brothers, the people of Tunisia, in choosing their leaders no matter what the sacrifices are," Hamas' Interior Minister Fathi Hammad told reporters.

"This is an application of the people's will after being patient for a long time," he said.

Ben Ali was not popular with Islamic groups, having cracked down on the Islamic opposition in Tunisia.

However the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a smaller member of the PLO, praised the uprising as "a great victory" for the Tunisian people.

What happened was "a lesson for all," the DFLP statement said, calling on "Arab masses to start rising up in the face of their treacherous rulers."

Egypt respects Tunisians' will

 Listen to the Tunisians, it's your turn Egyptians 
Egyptian demonstrators

Egypt on Saturday urged Tunisians to "stand together" following the ousting of Ben Ali and said it would respect the choices of the Tunisian people.

"Egypt believes that what is important in this moment is for all Tunisians to stand together," a statement from the foreign ministry said.

"Egypt affirms its respect for the choices of the Tunisian people, and is confident that the wisdom of the Tunisian brothers will lead to restraint and will avoid descending the country into chaos," it said.

On Friday, dozens of Egyptians celebrated the ouster of the veteran president outside the Tunisian embassy in central Cairo.

Egyptians have long voiced similar grievances to Tunisians. They have long complained of economic hardships and Cairo has regularly come under criticism for failing to lift an emergency law in place for three decades.

The controversial law, which gives police wide powers of arrest, suspends constitutional rights and curbs non-governmental political activity, was renewed in 2010 for a further two years.

"Listen to the Tunisians, it's your turn Egyptians!," chanted the demonstrators, surrounded by heavy security.

Arab League’s take on Tunis

The Arab League called on Saturday for Tunisia's political forces and other groups to keep the peace and lead the North African country out of crisis after the president was swept from power amid widespread protests.

The statement by the Cairo-based League was one of the first major Arab statements on developments in Tunisia.

Saudi Arabia had earlier expressed support for Tunisians as they overcome this "difficult stage" in a statement welcoming the arrival in the kingdom of ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Many other Arab states have stayed silent.

The Arab League called "for all political forces, representatives of Tunisian society and officials to stand together and unite to maintain the achievements of the Tunisian people and realise national peace."

It called for a return to calm and urged the country to reach a "national consensus on ways to bring the country out of this crisis in a way that guarantees respect for the will of the Tunisian people."

Asked about repercussions of events in Tunisia on the Arab world at large, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa told reporters at a conference on Saturday: "Tunisia's events are serious events and a development that has historical dimensions, and shapes the beginning of one era and the end of another."

Moussa said events in Tunisia will be discussed during the League's economic conference in Egypt, adding that he expected a representative from Tunisia to be present at the event. The four-day conference will be held from 16-19 January.

Moussa said he had not yet contacted Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi but there would be "contacts at the highest level in the coming period." Ghannouchi said on Friday he was taking over as interim president.

Analysts say the toppling of Ben Ali will send shock waves through the Arab world, where most countries are ruled by monarchs or authoritarian rulers, some in power for decades.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »