PROTESTERS burned a life-sized effigy of Bill Clinton outside a Glasgow hotel last night where the former US president was guest speaker at a Jewish charity dinner.

Hundreds of jeering protesters heckled guests as they arrived at the Hilton hotel for the centenary dinner of the Jewish National Fund, aimed at raising money for a reservoir project in Israel.

The fund was set up to buy land throughout Palestine in the hope that a state of Israel would one day be established. Mr Clinton will speak at a second JNF dinner in Cheshire today and a third in London tomorrow.

However, the JNF's policy of buying land only for Jewish use has been denounced as ''racist'' by supporters of the Palestinian cause, who see it as a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

The demonstrators had gathered outside the Hilton from 6pm onwards waving placards and white lights.

Several times police struggled to keep the crowds contained as groups climbed upon a line of crash barriers. They chanted ''Free Palestine'', ''intifada'', and ''Clinton murderer''.

At one point, about a dozen protesters ran towards the entrance of the hotel with a burning effigy of Mr Clinton. They dumped the effigy around 20ft from the entrance to the hotel, and security staff rushed to put out the flames with fire-extinguishers.

Sana Dabbagh, a Palestinian, from Kirkintilloch, and a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said Mr Clinton was guilty of double standards by agreeing to speak at the dinner.

She said: ''I am here because the Jewish National Fund has invited Bill Clinton to speak at this dinner, despite the fact that he is supposed to be a mediator between the two sides.

''Obviously all this time he has been supporting the Israeli side.''

Mr Clinton told the dinner that there were four things which could be done to create an improved world, beginning with winning the war against terrorism.

He said terrorists like Osama bin Laden saw the world in an utterly different way from Western democracies. He said: ''They believe our differences are all that matter. Most of us believe our common humanity matters more. The clash between these two simple propositions will define the shape and the soul of this new century.''

He added: ''All over the world good career people are working hard to protect civilisation. We have thwarted more terrorist attacks than have been successful.

''A lot of kids are scared right now. But it's important to keep in mind this basic thing: it's going to be all right.''

He said there were four great positive and four negative factors at work in the world today. The driving global economy, the information technology revolution, scientific advances and an explosion in democracy were the positive four. Global poverty, ill health, global warming and the inventiveness of modern terrorism were the latter four.

However, there were also four things which could be done to achieve an improved world. First, winning the immediate fight in Afghanistan and against the war on terror. Second, making more partners in the world and fewer

terrorists. Third, encouraging changes within other countries to make progress possible, and finally engaging with people who disagree with the West, especially in the Muslim world.

Mr Clinton appeared relaxed as he spoke to 760 sponsors of the JNF. His trademark emotional side also came to the fore when he talked about the events of September 11.

He said that as a simple American citizen rather than a former president he had been extremely grateful for Britain's support in the aftermath of the attacks.

However, outside, there was little support for Mr Clinton. Yael Oren Kahn, an Israeli human rights activist, said: ''Bill Clinton is giving his name to a reservoir in the Negev desert, will this make the desert bloom? I don't think so. In Glasgow you pay 55p per cubic metre of water, in Israeli settlements they pay 12p per cubic meter and in Palestinian areas they pay between 80p and (pounds) 6.60 for water brought in on tankers. Water is used as a weapon to move Palestinians from their land.''

The Bill Clinton reservoir will be built in a region of the Negev desert only 20 or 30 miles from Palestinian settlements in Gaza but all of the reservoir's water will be pumped to Israeli-owned businesses, homes and farms.

However, Abbie Benari, a JNF spokesman, said: ''Water is absolutely not being used as a weapon, we could sit down and work out a deal with the Palestinians if there is peace.''

Mr Clinton had flown into Scotland and played golf at Turnberry in Ayrshire, before heading on to Glasgow.

He said he had never given any thought to cancelling his trip to Scotland. ''I think air travel is safe, and I think the purpose of terror is to make people change their lives, to make us afraid of today, afraid of tomorrow, afraid of each other, and we should not be.''

Mr Clinton also told reporters: ''I first came to Glasgow when I was 22 years old.''

Stanley Lovatt, a Glasgow businessman and JNF joint vice-president, who asked Mr Clinton to give the talk, said the invitation had been made before any recent events in the Middle East.

Around 750 guests paid (pounds) 125 a head to hear the former president speak for an hour.

This was to be followed by a 30-minute question and answer session with the audience.