| GEO World|
| Obama's silence over Gaza crisis angers Arabs|
| Updated at: 1820 PST, Wednesday, December 31, 2008|
NEW YORK: Arabs, mainly immigrants from Palestine, are expressing their frustration and anger over President-elect Barack Obama's silence over Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip and asserting that this shows that there would be little change in the pro-Tel Aviv policies of the US.
According to Arab media, Middle Eastern people did not buy Obama's argument that there is only one president at a time, pointing out that he had been speaking about what he would do about economy and on terrorist attacks on Mumbai.
Obama's victory in the presidential elections was hailed in the Arab world but several protesters said the perception might change now.
Hundreds of Arab shouting anti-Israeli slogans and pro-Israeli protesters faced off each other in counter demonstrations yesterday outside the Israeli Consulate here over Tel Aviv's air strikes on Gaza and, what the Arabs called, its attempts to starve Gaza.
Police put up barricades to keep them apart as Arabs protesters called for freeing Palestine and at least one banner read, "The Real Terrorists are US-Israeli War Machine."
A smaller group on the other side of the street defended the bombing of the Hamas-ruled Gaza, arguing that every country has the right to defend itself.
Meanwhile, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg met Israeli Consul General Asaf Shariv and expressed his support for the Israeli action, further angering the Arabs.