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#SaveSilwan: Jordanians express their support for Palestine

A picture taken on July 2, 2021 in the predominantly Arab neighbourhood of Silwan in the occupied East Jerusalem, shows the domes of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque behind the walls of Jerusal
A picture taken on July 2, 2021 in the predominantly Arab neighbourhood of Silwan in the occupied East Jerusalem, shows the domes of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque behind the walls of Jerusalem's Old City. (Photo: AFP)
AMMAN — On Saturday, Israeli forces began the demolition of Palestinian homes and shops in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Around 225 kilometres away, Jordanians across the border are using social media and other means to protest the demolitions and promote solidarity with their Palestinian allies.اضافة اعلان

For some activists, words and social media posts have become a powerful tool to combat the physical violence taking place in Silwan.

"Words are like weapons,” Duaa Al Khateeb, an activist passionate about the Palestinian cause, told Jordan News. “We must express ourselves through words and show the world what happens to our families in Palestine. Some media platforms do not show the absolute truth, and therefore some people stand against Palestine, just because they do not know the amount of injustice Palestinians face every second."

Al Khateeb highlighted Muna El Kurd, the well-known Palestinian activist and journalist who was taken into custody in June from her home in the Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah. Kurd has used social media and hashtags like #SaveSheikhJarrah and #SaveSilwan to highlight the everyday violations committed against her and call for interventions from the international community. A legal battle between Israeli settlers and several Palestinian families facing forced expulsion, including Kurd’s, has crystallised anger over Israel’s illegal settlements.

"Muna is a well-known activist whose story is known to everyone,” said Kurd. “She is a hero. I believe that if each and every one of us is just as brave as Muna, Palestine will be free."

Other activists are finding new ways to keep up the momentum after protests over the Sheikh Jarrah evictions sparked hundreds-strong protests in Amman.

"I used to go every day to the protests taking place in Rabieh,” recalled Rami Marwan, a 26 year-old activist, in an interview with Jordan News. “I used to bring my friends and family there too, because I believe that I should be taking part in every action that shall contribute to freeing Palestine."

"People may say that such protests would not make a difference,” added Marwan, “but I say that one must fight in each and every way for the thing he loves. I do love Palestine and I am ready to do anything to support it."

The protests in Rabieh reached their height in May. As twenty-eight families in Sheikh Jarrah, themselves refugees who fled to the neighbourhood during an earlier conflict, faced forced expulsion from their homes, peaceful protests led to violent attacks against Palestinians and eventually the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

Across the border, Jordanians raised their voices. At large protests near the Israeli Embassy in Rabieh, they called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Jordan and the cancellation of the water and gas deals between Jordan and Israel.

But beyond protests, other Jordanians have found their own unique ways to show support for the Palestinian cause.

Thousands of Jordanians took part in the "cut the lights" campaign that took place in June in protest of the Israeli gas deal. 

The hashtag, "cut the lights for your dignity" topped Twitter’s trending in Jordan with over 14,000 tweets. Users shared footage of them turning off their electricity and lighting candles in their homes, a proclamation that Jordan should not rely on Israel for gas and other basic utilities. Jordan’s Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Jordan) led the campaign.

Tamara Mohammad, a 27 year-old who is passionate about crafting poems and other forms of creative writing, told Jordan News that "I have written poems since childhood, but I like writing poems for Palestine to express my love and support towards Palestine through words. I believe that supporting a cause could be done in different ways."

"I publish my poems on my social media platforms with some hashtags for Palestine to help in spreading these poems all over the world,” she explained. “I thank God that some Palestinians read my poems and like them. I really appreciate it when they tell me that my poems give them positive energy as that is my goal from writing those poems."

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