Marching for Palestine  in Jordan

Mass protests in support of Palestine have swept the Middle East. In some countries, they are officially encouraged by the government. But in others, they take on much more open criticism of the Arab regimes that have failed the Palestinian cause.

In Jordan riot police on Friday forcibly dispersed hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters trying to reach a border zone with the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Witnesses said police fired tear gas to halt demonstrators who had reached a security checkpoint outside the capital Amman on a highway leading to a main border crossing.

The interior ministry had issued a ban against holding anti-Israel marches in the sensitive border area

One tribal official told Middle East Eye, “The popular position is stronger than the official one that sees Jordanian authorities arrest those who smuggle weapons into Palestine.

“We, as members of the tribes, went out and will continue to go out at every protest march.”

The National Forum to Support Resistance and Protect the Homeland, a group that comprises various political parties, unions, and independents, called for a “large march towards the border with occupied Palestine” on 20 October.

Jordan lost the West Bank including East Jerusalem to Israel during the 1967 war. Its peace treaty with Israel is widely unpopular among ordinary people who see “normalisation” of relations as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

In Beirut, Lebanon, thousands of Palestine supporters waved Lebanese, Palestinian and Hezbollah flags, chanting slogans in support of Gaza and calling for “death to Israel.”

Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general warned that it would be “on the lookout” for the United States and British naval vessels heading to the Mediterranean Sea.

“Your battleships do not interest us, nor do your statements frighten us,” Naim Kassim said at a rally in a southern suburb of Beirut. “When the time is right to take action, we will do so.”

In Baghdad, Iraq, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in and around Tahrir Square for rallies called by the influential Shiite political leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

“We, as Iraqis, know the pain of having an occupier on our land,” said protester Alaa al-Arabyia, referring to the US and British invasion of Iraq.

Across Iran, demonstrators also streamed into the streets after Friday prayers. In Tehran, they burned Israeli and American flags, chanting: “Death to Israel,” “Death to America,” “Israel will be doomed,” and “Palestine will be the conqueror.”

In Cairo, Egypt, thousands rallied outside the Al Azhar Mosque, chanting “Free Palestine.”

Egyptian socialists said, “No one has the right to dictate conditions to those Palestinians who give blood and life with an open chest in the face of an occupation based on robbery and killing.

“Every missile from the resistance, every bullet from a fighter, and every chant in the West Bank is a step towards the liberation of Palestine. 

“In its recent operation, the resistance has achieved an important leap in this direction, and the comprehensive liberation of Palestine will only be achieved by undermining the Zionist entity from within the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and from outside the borders of Palestine as well, as this struggle was transferred against all the puppet ruling classes.”

Thousands defied a state ban to march in support of Gaza in Tunisia. 

In Yemen’s Sanaa, held by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels still at war with a Saudi-led coalition supported by the West, demonstrators crowded the streets waving Yemeni and Palestinian flags.

“We are ready to participate actively and send hundreds of thousands of mujahedeen to defend Palestine, the Palestinian people and the holy sites,” the Houthi government said in a statement on Friday.

A rising of workers and the poor across the Middle East can transform the position of the Palestinians, Such a revolt has to be directed against Israel, imperialism, and the compliant Arab regimes.

Hamas explains its resistance

Asked to set out the background to its recent offensive, Hamas official Basim Naim sent this message to Socialist Worker.

“We are speaking about a 75-year-old occupation that neglected and ignored all political and legal means to settle the conflict, where the Israeli enemy continued their policy of denial of the Palestinian people’s existence and their national rights.

“We have repeatedly warned during the past few months and years that the situation on the ground was not sustainable and that the explosion was only a matter of time. 

“We have warned repeatedly about the Israeli continued violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque and their attempt to change its status quo in an apparent plan to divide the holy mosque spatially and temporally.

“We have also warned about the state terrorism implemented by the fascist settlers across the occupied West Bank. We have warned about the forceful expulsion of our people from Jerusalem. We have also warned about the systematic crimes against our prisoners, including women and children, in Israeli jails.

“And lastly, we have warned about the Israeli siege on Gaza for more than 17 years, which is a war crime that turned Gaza into the biggest open-air prison on earth, where a whole generation has lost all kind of hopes.

“But unfortunately, no one listened to these warnings, and the international community, especially the Western countries, continue to give Israel the cover at all levels to continue committing its crimes.

“We deny involvement in the beheading of infants. We targeted only the Israeli military bases and compounds. There are instructions from the top commanders of Al Qassam Brigades to avoid targeting civilians or killing them.”

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