TRIPOLI – Palestinian refugees should capitalize on the wave of popular revolts in the Middle East by massing peacefully on the borders of Israel until it gives in to their demands, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Sunday.
Gaddafi is respected in many parts of the Arab world for his uncompromising criticism of Israel and Arab leaders who have dealings with the Jewish state, though some people in the region dismiss his initiatives as unrealistic.
He was giving his first major speech since a popular uprising in neighboring Egypt forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign, an event which electrified the Arab world and prompted speculation that other Arab governments could also be toppled.
"Fleets of boats should take Palestinians ... and wait by the Palestinian shores until the problem is resolved," Gaddafi was shown saying on state television. "This is a time of popular revolutions."
"We need to create a problem for the world. This is not a declaration of war. This is a call for peace," he said in a speech given to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohamed, a holy day in the Islamic calendar.
He also said: "All Arab states which have relations with Israel are cowardly regimes."
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