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Heeding ‘day of action’ call, Jordanians take to streets again

Jordanians protest
Jordanians protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Amman’s Rabieh neighborhood, on May 18, 2021. (Photo: Ameer Khalifa/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Heeding a call from Palestinian activists to join them in solidarity and protest on Tuesday, in what was dubbed a “Day of Action”, Jordanians took to the streets once more on Tuesday.اضافة اعلان

Hundreds gathered in Amman’s Rabieh neighborhoos, between Al-Kalouty Mosque, Cambridge school, and Al-Salheen Mosque. The crowds marched towards the Israeli embassy, meeting at Omar Ben Abdul Aziz, Street where the roads were blocked by gendarme right.

“The blood of the martyrs is asking my blood: why did you settle for a peaceful treaty?” the protesters chanted, while some burned Israeli flags.

Protesters yelled: “Who said the people died? The people are furious in the streets.”

Israel’s intense bombing campaign on Gaza has killed 213 Palestinians, including 61 children, and wounded more than 1,400 people in Gaza in more than a week of fighting against Islamist group Hamas, according to the health ministry in Gaza, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Palestinians across the West Bank and in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem mobilized Tuesday for protests and a general strike that shuttered non-essential businesses, in support of those under bombardment in Gaza, according to AFP.

“I want to stand up for my people. Since I can’t be there physically, the least I can do is protest here in hopes of making a change,” Sara, a twenty-year-old protestor, told Jordan News.

“I hope this starts a movement that leads the government to actually move forward to a free Palestine. The people with power just sitting at home doing nothing, I hope this moves them to see that people want change and they won’t stop until they get it. Even if the change is not instant, we need to keep fighting,” Sara added.

The young protester, with her head wrapped in a Palestinian keffiyeh (popular headwear worn throughout the Levant), pointed out that the issue has been taking an emotional toll, citing that “people have not been able to sleep.”

Another protester, Bilal Abu Slayyeh, described the Palestinian movement as a “unanimous uprising”.

“The people, in Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank, or within the territories occupied in 48 — they are speaking out for their rights and their land,” Slayyeh said. “I am here to also teach my son, even if he is too young to understand, that Palestine is ours. Whether I’m Jordanian, Syrian, or Iraqi, it’s my country. That’s how we were raised in Jordan.”

The fight is continuous and intergenerational, according to Slayyeh. His demand, as per the previous protests, is to sever diplomatic ties between Jordan and Israel, including the revoking of the gas deal with Israel — $10 billion supply deal with a US Israeli consortium led by Texas-based Noble Energy, to provide gas to the country’s power plants for electricity generation through the gas — and closing the Israeli embassy in Amman.

Banners held by demonstrators reiterated similar demands, with some reading “gas does not become blood” and “free Palestine.”

Jordanians have organized daily protests in Rabieh, Al-Karameh town near the border, and downtown Amman, among other sites, since the beginning of unrest on the other side of the border.

The latest Israel-Gaza conflict was sparked after clashes broke out at occupied Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif — one of Islam’s holiest sites — after Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians on May 7.

This followed a crackdown against protests over planned evictions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel has been trying to contain violence between Jews and Israeli Arabs, as well as unrest in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian authorities say Israeli forces have killed 22 Palestinians since May 10.

After two hours under the sun, some protesters succumbed to the heat.

One protester was seen leaving the protest limping.

“I was in the frontline of protesters and there was some pushing from both the police and the protesters. I told the policeman that I have nerve damage in my leg, and he hit me on it,” he told Jordan News. “They’re hitting people on the knees.”

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