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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Mubarak denounces Israel
Students and staff from American university in Cairo on demonstration
Mubarak's speech reflects the mood among Arabs
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By the BBC's David Bamford
Cairo correspondent
line
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has made a televised speech bitterly condemning Israel and accusing it of using state terrorism to crush the Palestinians.

The speech marks the 20th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from the Egyptian Sinai under the terms of the 1979 peace treaty.

Hosni Mubarak
Mubarak's tone contrasted with that of earlier statements
Mr Mubarak's denunciation of Israel contrasts with his earlier diplomatic tone while American peace efforts were under way.

His condemnation was coloured by the strongest words he has used to describe the Israeli authorities since Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began his military offensive against the Palestinians in March.

He accused Israel of going beyond all limits and using state terrorism to commit appalling violations of human rights against Palestinian civilians.

Mr Mubarak said that following their barbaric and systematic aggression, the Israelis were in the process of destroying evidence of the horrendous crimes perpetrated under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

US 'failures'

He also pointed to what he described as certain international powers for failing to live up to their responsibilities.

While not naming the powers concerned there is no doubt that Mr Mubarak is putting the Bush administration high on that list.

The Americans are likely to be dismayed that Mr Mubarak, one of their staunchest Middle East allies, has taken off the diplomatic gloves in his characterisation of developments in the region.

His view reflects the mood throughout the Arab world that Mr Sharon is in the process of crushing all hope of Palestinian independence and the Americans can no longer be relied upon to restrain him.

See also:

25 Apr 02 | Media reports
Excerpts of Mubarak's speech
17 Apr 02 | Middle East
Mid-East truce eludes Powell
24 Apr 02 | Middle East
UN puts Jenin inquiry on hold
23 Apr 02 | Middle East
Revenge killings follow Hebron strike
16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Inside ruined Jenin
18 Apr 02 | Middle East
Jenin camp 'horrific beyond belief'
04 Mar 02 | Middle East
Mubarak proposes Mid-East summit
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