UNITED NATIONS – Protesters took to the streets in several Arab cities Monday in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanon as Egypt's president warned that the Middle East peace process was in danger of collapsing.
"Egypt, which triggered the peace process, warns of the consequences of its collapse," said President Hosni Mubarak, whose country was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel. "The Israeli aggression undermines the opportunities to continue it."
Mubarak's comments came one day after an Israeli airstrike on the southern Lebanese town of Qana killed at least 56 children, more than half children. The attack was deadliest since the fighting between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah broke on out July 12 and has drawn torrents of outrage around the Arab world.
That rage continued as demonstrators in several Arab cities again denounced Israel and its closest ally, the United States.
About 1,000 protesters crowded a downtown Cairo square in the evening, chanting anti-American slogans and criticizing Arab leaders for not acting fast enough to end the fighting. Thousands of police surrounded the protesters, and there no immediate reports of violence.
About 2,000 Syrian women dressed in black gathered at a main square in downtown Damascus carrying Lebanese and Hezbollah flags. And more than 1,000 Jordanians also marched from a professional building in Amman to nearby U.N. offices, shouting "Death to Israel" and "Down, down U.S.A"
In Iraq, about 200 people burned American and Israeli flags during a demonstration in the eastern Baghdad slum of Sadr City.
Anti-American political and religious leaders also vowed to continue their support for Hezbollah including Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who said he was willing to defend Lebanon.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose country has drawn criticism from Washington over its support for Hezbollah, also pledged to "stand by our Arab people in Lebanon and Palestine."
Some lawmakers in other U.S.-friendly Arab nations also publicly denounced Israel and the Qana attack.
In Jordan, the only Arab state to have a peace treaty with Israel other than Egypt, 14 lawmakers asked the government to recall the country's ambassador in Tel Aviv and expel the Israeli envoy in Jordan in a mostly symbolic written petition.
Several lawmakers in Kuwait also attacked the United States during a parliamentary session.
"With this stupid policy, America is the one that is feeding terrorism," said Islamist lawmaker Khaled al-Adwa.