Arab States Cancel New Year's Festivities
Celebrations halted in solidarity with Gaza
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2008 10:57 AM CST
Residents of Dubai gather on Jumeirah Beach to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Nousha Salimi)
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(Newser) – Dubai's ruler has canceled its ritzy public New Year's Eve celebrations "in solidarity with the Palestinian people" in Gaza, the Times of London reports. Festivities also were called off in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. In Dubai, residents and tourists scrambled to come up with alternative plans. "We probably won’t know what we’re doing until 10 to midnight," said one British expat.

Dubai hotels and restaurants still planned to hold indoor celebrations, but outdoor parties were canceled. "I think everyone is a bit stuffed about what to do," another Brit said. "You feel a little bit bad if you do go out and celebrate." However, a Shakira concert in Abu Dhabi and events in Lebanon will go on as planned.