Angry Arabs turn wine into war talk

Time of article published Sep 30, 1999

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Cairo - The Arab League warned Israel Thursday of the explosive consequences of provoking Muslims after an Israeli firm produced a wine with a picture of one of Islam's holiest mosques on the label.

League secretary general Esmat Abdel Meguid branded the move an arrogant insult to Muslims all over the world whose religion forbids the consumption of alcohol.

Abdel Meguid's deputy for Palestinian affairs Said Kamal said producing the wine crowns a dangerous chain of acts that "will cause feelings to boil over and spark a new Intifada (uprising) against Israel".

Kamal demanded an end to Israel's policy of provocation and said marketing the drink confirmed the Jewish state's "reckless disregard" for Islam.

The red wine, labelled "Jerusalem 2000" by the Baron Wine Cellars company, is decorated with a panoramic picture of Jerusalem, including the golden dome of the Al-Aqsa mosque - the third holiest site in Islam.

Abdel Meguid said the wine label showed how little regard Israel has for the tenets of Islam and charged that it was part of a subversive Israeli policy of judaising the holy city.

The millennium beverage has already angered Palestinian officials who want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state while the Israelis have claimed the entire city as their "eternal and undivided capital".

The wine, made from grapes from the Givat Yeshaayahu area southwest of Jerusalem, is one of a series launched by the wine company for the millennium and has been on the market for several months, the firm has said. - Sapa-AFP

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