Calls for more Jordan protests against Gaza war, Israel ties

Smoke rises during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 28, 2024 (-)
Smoke rises during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on March 28, 2024 (-)

Activists in Jordan called for further protests Sunday after days of demonstrations that have brought thousands onto the streets against the war in Gaza and the country's peace treaty with Israel.

Jordan, where nearly half the population is of Palestinian origin, has seen regular rallies in Amman and elsewhere in solidarity with Gaza since Israel's military onslaught in response to Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack.

Recent protests have seen rare clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the capital and in Jordan's largest Palestinian refugee camp.

The group Jordanian Youth Gathering urged people to return later Sunday to the Israeli embassy in Amman "to support the resistance in Gaza and demand the cancellation of the Jordanian Israeli peace treaty and cut all ties with Israel".

In 1994, Jordan became the second Arab country, after Egypt in 1979, to sign a peace treaty with Israel.

"No to a Zionist embassy on Jordanian territory", read one banner at Saturday's embassy protest, where people have gathered every evening since the holy Muslim month of Ramadan began more than two weeks ago.

Security forces said on Sunday they had arrested a number of protesters 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Amman at the Beqaa refugee camp.

Public security spokesman Amer Al-Sartaawi said in a statement that a "number of rioters" were arrested after "acts of rioting and vandalism, setting fires, and hurling stones at vehicles on the public road".

A second statement later Sunday said women were among an unspecified number of people arrested at a protest the previous night near the Israeli embassy who had also caused disturbances and "attempted to assault" security forces.

"The Public Security Directorate will continue its professional work in maintaining security and community peace" while allowing "citizens to express their opinions in accordance with the laws", it said.

Beqaa camp, home to more than 100,000 Palestinians, is one of six camps set up to house the influx of refugees who fled the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.

Jordan has 2.2 million people who have been registered by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Many have been granted Jordanian citizenship.

Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Israel responded with a relentless military campaign that has killed 32,782 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

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