Protests erupted in the Middle East as US Arab allies warned against expelling the Palestinians.
Protests erupted across the Arab world this Friday amid the war in Gaza and the threat of an Israeli ground operation that could displace millions of Palestinians.
Following Friday Islamic prayers, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and the West Bank to protest Israel’s actions against Hamas.
According to data from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 4,127 people have died in the war in Gaza so far. Israel carried out its attack in response to a terrorist attack by Hamas on the country on October 7. According to Israeli officials, 1,400 people were killed in the attack and about 200 were taken hostage.
In a sign of growing anger over Israeli action in Gaza, Egypt staged its first major national protest in a decade. Hundreds of protesters gathered near Tahrir Square in central Cairo on Friday in support of the Palestinians. Demonstrations were also held in other cities of the country.
“Where is the Arab army?” asked some of the protesters in Cairo. And “here are the Zionists” is a reference to Egypt’s riot police, who pushed protesters into nearby Bab el-Louk Square and closed access to Tahrir.
In Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the Israeli attack. Many waved Palestinian and Lebanese flags, along with those of the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah and its political ally Amal in Lebanon. Young protesters burn the US flag to protest Washington’s support for Israel.
In Iraq, hundreds of people, mostly supporters of Iranian-backed militias, staged a sit-in on Friday at Iraq’s main border crossing with Jordan. Others protested in Baghdad, not far from the fortified Green Zone that houses the US embassy.
In the Jordanian capital of Amman, around 6,000 protesters marched in support of the Gazans. Some chanted for Hamas to step up attacks on Israel, Reuters reported.
The protests highlight growing anger on Arab streets, regional leaders’ frustration with the war as the Palestinian death toll mounts, and the United States’ reluctance to place limits on Israel’s activities.
Anti-Israel rhetoric has been particularly heated by the governments of Jordan and Egypt, two US-aligned countries that border Israel and were the first Arab countries to sign peace treaties with the country. Amman and Cairo have raised alarm bells over plans to relocate Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank to Egypt and Jordan. Although Israel has not announced any such plan, both countries have warned that such a move could lead to war.
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