The Middle East: Hardline Arabs say accord is treason

Libya and Syria denounced the PLO-Israel accord, but refrained from a direct attack on Egypt for hosting the signing ceremony, writes Adel Darwish.

The official Libyan news agency JANA condemned the agreement as 'an illusion', and again called on Arabs to 'destroy the imperialist and racist entity,' its standard reference to Israel. Syria, which is conferring with Israel on a settlement in the region but which boycotted the signing ceremony in Cairo, said it was a separate deal that violated Arab solidarity. The ruling Baath party daily al-Baath said it was 'turning Gaza and Jericho into a Zionist protectorate'.

Syrian-backed rejectionists yesterday used their old anti- Sadat rhetoric to condemn PLO chairman Yasser Arafat. He was 'a traitor who has sold out the Palestinian cause,' said a statement signed by 10 Damascus-based Palestinian groups .

The PLO's main rival in Gaza and the West bank, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, dismissed the agreement, saying the Palestinian people were 'not bound' by it. Hamas, whose members have killed 13 Israeli civilians in recent weeks, vowed to 'continue struggling until all the occupiers leave the occupied territories'.

The same defiance was expressed by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which denounced the accord via the Iranian News Agency, Irna. Tehran Radio condemned the accord as 'treason to Islam'.