'Allah Will Drown the American President,' Sheik Says
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) -Palestinian support for Iraq remain high as the war progresses, according to reports coming out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since last Thursday, demonstrating on behalf of Iraq, burning American flags and calling for "death to America."
Earlier polls have shown overwhelming Palestinian support for Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein.
Relatives of Palestinians in Israeli jails have expressed the hope that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would exchange American and British POWs for their relatives, the Palestinian Information Center website reported on Tuesday.
The mother of an Islamic Jihad member, who is an unofficial spokesperson for Palestinians whose relatives have been incarcerated by Israel, said she prays that Iraq will capture more American and British servicemen.
"Our morale has gone up high when we saw pictures of those POWs and we are full of hope that our sons would be set free if Iraqi president Saddam Hussein demanded their release in any future prisoners exchange agreement," she was quoted as saying.
She described Saddam as the biggest defender of Palestinian rights and said he always was concerned about the families of martyrs.
Saddam reportedly has given more than $35 million dollars to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists during the last 30 months of Palestinian unrest, and the war in Iraq has not put an end to those Iraqi stipends.
Twenty-one families in the Gaza Strip received payments of $10,000 each from the Arab Liberation Front, which is associated with Saddam's Baath party and distributes the Iraqi funds.
The local governor of the Khan Younis thanked Saddam and assured him that the Palestinians stand behind him, media reports said.
A Palestinian Islamic group meanwhile has organized a telephone support campaign where Palestinians can express their solidarity with Iraqis, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday.
According to pamphlets distributed mostly in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians can call a switchboard in Baghdad, which then connects them with local Baghdad residents in order to express their solidarity, the report said. Organizers were quoted as saying that there has been a large response to the appeal.
In a sermon broadcast live last Friday on Palestinian Authority television, Sheik Ibrahim Madeiris likened President Bush to Pharaoh and predicted that Bush and the American people would all drown in the Middle East.
"Allah drowned Pharaoh and those who were with him. Allah drowns the Pharaohs of every generation. Allah will drown the little Pharaoh, the dwarf, the Pharaoh of all times, of our time, the American President.
"Allah will drown America in our seas, in our skies, in our land. America will drown and all the oppressors will drown," Madeiris said according to a translation of his sermon provided on Tuesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Madeiris was referring to the story in the Jewish and Christian Bible, where the Egyptian pharaoh chased the Jewish people out of Egypt. According to the story, God opened the Red Sea for the Jewish people to go through but closed it again as the Egyptian army pursued them.
"Oh, people of Palestine, Oh, people of Iraq. The Crusader, Zionist America has started an attack against our Iraq, the Iraq of Islam and Arabism, the Iraq of civilization and history.
"It opened a Crusader Zionist war against Iraq. If Iraq is defeated, if the nation [of Islam] is defeated in Iraq -- this will be our last breath of life," he said.
Madeiris charged that there were many reasons for the war, among them, Bush's desire to control Iraqi oil, a Bush family vendetta and a war against Islam. He dismissed the U.S. argument that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, saying U.N. weapons inspectors proved did not exist.
He scolded other Islamic leaders for not standing up against the U.S.\b