On Friday thousands of people all over the world protested against Israel following the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla Monday. Major protests took place in Jerusalem, Egypt, Greece, and Austria, with Norway also canceling the appearance of an Israeli speaker.
Hundreds of Muslims held a protest march in Jerusalem's Old City, marching through the alleys carrying Turkish flags.
Police chief Dudi Cohen visited the capital earlier Friday, before prayer services were to be conducted at Temple Mount, and held a situation assessment with senior-ranking officers.
Protestors in Old City (Photo: AP)
At the end of the meeting it was decided to limit the entrance of worshippers to the holy site, and no violent incidents occurred during the services.
In Egypt, about 20,000 protesters gathered in the port city of Alexandria, waving Egyptian, Turkish and Palestinian flags. The protest, organised by Egypt's most powerful opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, was unusual in a country where public demonstrations are often swiftly suppressed.
"Hamas, Hamas, you are the artillery and we are the bullets," the protestors chanted, urging the Islamist group which rules Gaza to confront Israel.
"Turkey, a thousand salutations. Long live Erdogan and long live the Turkish people," the protestors chanted in Alexandria, referring to the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
In Norway, the military canceled a special operations seminar because the Defense Ministry objected to the inclusion of an Israeli army officer in the program.
Military spokeswoman Maj. Heidi Langvik-Hansen says the Defense Ministry was unhappy that the Israeli officer, identified only as Col. Toledano, would be delivering a talk in Oslo only weeks after the flotilla raid.
Toledano was scheduled to speak about his experience in Israel's 2006 operations in southern Lebanon.
In Greece police say pro-Palestinian activists staged a peaceful occupation at an Israeli irrigation firm. About 50 people took part in the one-hour protest at Netafim's Athens office Friday, hanging a banner that read "Israel commits murders, solidarity with the Palestinian uprising."
Organizers said they wanted to protest Monday's "murderous attack ... as well as the injuries, abuse and arrest of hundreds of activists" on the six-ship flotilla.
Caricature published by South African Mail & Guardian
In South Africa, Israel was presented as a skunk in a caricature published by the Guardian & Mail. It was signed by Zapiro, an artist known to have Jewish roots. He is widely read, and associated with the left-wing and anti-Israeli sentiment.
In Vienna, around 2,500 people protested. They circulated a petition to be conveyed to Chancellor Werner Faymann calling on him to cancel his visit to Jerusalem, scheduled to take place in a few weeks, and cease all cooperation with Israel.
Meanwhile hundreds of pro-Israeli protestors gathered to show support for the raid on the flotilla. Israel's ambassador to Vienna, Aviv Shir-On, also took part in the event.
And in Spain, Israel's ambassador ignited harsh criticism by announcing that the Spanish should be more concerned with the number of people dying in car accidents than the nine killed in the IDF raid.
"Yes, nine people were killed, but 155 people were killed in terror attacks in India last week. Who cares about that? Have you heard anything about it? Twenty-three Spanish were also killed in traffic accidents in the past wee," the Guardian quoted him as saying.
But a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Madrid said the ambassador's speech was taken out of context, and that he had been referring only to the wide coverage of the incident. "Of course we care about the victims," said Lior Hayat. "Even if they are mercenaries and terrorists."
Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report