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The BBC's Jim Fish
"The crowd of about 200 students vented their fury"
 real 28k

The BBC's Paul Adams in Jerusalem
"Mr Jospin found himself the target of an angry protest"
 real 28k

The BBC's Stephen Jessel in Paris
"It's not clear if Mr Jospin will answer President Chirac's summons"
 real 28k

Saturday, 26 February, 2000, 18:32 GMT
Angry Palestinians stone French PM

Mr Jospin under attack
Jospin was bundled into the car by security men


Palestinian students have pelted the French prime minister with stones because of his condemnation of Hezbollah attacks against Israeli targets in southern Lebanon.

Mr Jospin's getaway car Security officials struggled to protect Mr Jospin
Lionel Jospin was hurriedly whisked away in an official car from the Bir Zeit University, in the West Bank town of Ramallah, where he had delivered a speech to the students.

As he entered the auditorium, some students chanted: "Go away, you are a traitor."

During the speech - which went largely uninterrupted - Mr Jospin tried to clarify statements he made two days earlier.

Anti-Arab feeling

He said on Thursday: "France condemns Hezbollah's attacks, and all types of terrorist attacks which may be carried out against soldiers or possibly Israel's civilian population."

The comments angered Lebanon, the Arab world, and even his own president, Jacques Chirac, who has summoned him to a meeting when he returns home.

Mr Jospin at Bir Zeit University Mr Jospin's speech was largely uninterrupted
But at the Bir Zeit University, Mr Jospin told the students: "We condemn Israeli attacks against civilians in Lebanon."

He also repeated France's support for a Palestinian state.

"A Palestinian state is necessary for peace," he declared.

But his measured statements did little to calm the angry students who hurled stones at him after the speech.

Middle East
Even inside the armour-plated car Mr Jospin was not spared the anger of the students.

They kicked the back and sides of the car, and one student was seen trying to force open the door nearest to the French prime minister, as others rained more stones on the vehicle.

Some of the students jumped on top of the car.

Palestinian security officials and Mr Jospin's bodyguards shouted and tried frantically to protect Mr Jospin.

Mr Jospin's getaway car The students called Mr Jospin 'a traitor'


The prime minister was reported to be lightly injured but not hurt.

The university authorities condemned the incident and closed the university until Tuesday, in an attempt to restore calm.

Arafat apology

The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, later spoke to Mr Jospin by telephone and expressed regret over the students' behaviour.

"I apologise to you sir, and I hope that you can accept this apology from me and the Palestinian people," he said.

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See also:
26 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Picture gallery: Jospin pelted
25 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Hezbollah labels Jospin a 'racist'
15 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Barak wins vote on Lebanon
12 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Hezbollah vows to continue fight
11 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Analysis: Dilemma facing Israeli army
08 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Analysis: Gloves off in Lebanon

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