The anger is palpable across the Middle East and North Africa as thousands take to the streets to express their outrage at Israel’s strike on Al-Ahli Hospital.
Spontaneous protests are taking place in Ramallah, Amman and Aqaba in Jordan, Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey, Idlib in Syria, the Moroccan capital Rabat and the Tunisian capital Tunis, and in Yemen’s Taiz. And that’s just some of them.
🔥 Spontaneous protests ignite across the Middle East, even past 1am. Across Iran, the Arab world & beyond, protestors have taken to the streets tonight.
In Baghdad, they're marching towards the US embassy. pic.twitter.com/FBc9aLwO4s
— Sina Toossi سینا طوسی (@SinaToossi) October 17, 2023
While some Arab states have normalised relations with Israel in recent years, and negotiations with Saudi Arabia were moving towards a deal, solidarity with the Palestinian cause is still overwhelming throughout the region – and it is unrealistic to expect it to be ignored.
Statements have now been released from countries like the UAE – which is one of those that normalised relations with Israel as part of the “Abraham Accords” – and Saudi Arabia, strongly denouncing Israel for the hospital strike.
There is evidence that public opinion remains firmly behind the Palestinian cause and that, in moments like these, governments are wary to cross those sentiments.
Protests target US and French embassies in Beirut
reporting from Beirut, Lebanon
People have taken to the streets denouncing “crimes against humanity” whether in Beirut or across the country. There is anger as news spread of the Gaza hospital attack and high death toll.
This is a country that is technically at war with Israel. People here are blaming those who support Israel – the United States, as well as other Western nations. They believe because of the unconditional support it allows Israel to disregard international law.
— N I L E_A L E R T S (@NILEALERTS) October 17, 2023
We’re getting reports of people trying to make their way to the US embassy to protest but the Lebanese army and security forces have closed all roads. Protesters are demonstrating outside the French embassy and ambassador’s residence. Hezbollah is calling for a major protest tomorrow in Beirut’s southern suburbs – “a day of anger”.
As for Hezbollah-Israel fighting, there’s been a gradual escalation over the past week. Today, there was an exchange of heavy fire. Many fear it can widen. But this is no longer Hezbollah versus Israel, this is the people versus Israel.
Gaza and West Bank people unite despite divided leadership
In Gaza, there’s Hamas and in the West Bank, there’s the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by Mahmoud Abbas who is recognised internationally as the president of the Palestinian administration.
Because of quarrels, particularly since 2005, the level of communication between these two groups is at a minimum.
Pro-Hamas protests have erupted across the Middle East.
Oh wait, this is Dallas, Texas. 😳pic.twitter.com/TcnGohZy0e
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) October 17, 2023
But while communication has been restricted at a leadership level, there has always been an emotional connection between the people of Ramallah and those who live in Gaza.
We’re seeing the people of Ramallah organise against what’s happening now in Gaza. And although we have so far not seen much confrontation in Ramallah between the Palestinians and Israelis, there’s a psychological threshold that could be triggered.
‘Anger is palpable’: Protests erupt at Israel embassy in Jordan
Osama Bin Javaid
reporting from Amman, Jordan
Since news broke of the hospital attack in Gaza, hundreds of people have come out to the streets of not just Amman but other parts of Jordan as well. This country hosts more than two million Palestinian refugees, and palpable anger has been growing in the last 10 days.
Palestinians here have been saying the world is not doing enough to stop the bloodshed in Gaza, and they’re angry at the people who are supposed to stop the violence.
Pro-Hamas/Palestinian riots and protests have broken out across the Middle East & Europe following the explosion at Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in #Gaza which is said to have killed over 500 & is claimed by Hamas to have been caused by an Israeli Airstrike.#IsraelGazaWar pic.twitter.com/0gjgAUfsaz
— Geo Political Updates (@GeoPolUpdates) October 17, 2023