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Gaza has given its all – what now?


A few days ago, I entered a mosque in the centre of Amman, Jordan, to perform the evening prayer. As we finished, a thunderous mass of voices arose from within and around the mosque; a rallying call to action as people began to pour out of the hall. This was a tempest brimming with anger and energy. 

It was not until I stepped out of the mosque, a few moments later, that I discovered the source of the noise. Men, women, children – even elderly grandmothers, shakily waving their fists whilst tottering on their wooden canes – their voices are woven into a symphony of chants, singing of resistance and determination. From horizon to horizon were endless banners of red, black and green, like a vast ocean with no land in sight.

I did not realise until an hour later that I had stepped into what had been Jordan’s largest rally since the Arab Spring. After the evening prayers over 10,000 Jordanians descended into the city centre, in expression of their support for their fellow Palestinians, demanding for the border between Jordan and the occupied West Bank to be opened. It was one of many rallies that have now taken place throughout the Middle East, in response to ongoing events in Palestine. 

“None are spared, whether mothers, fathers, sons, daughters or even infants, barely weaned off their mother’s milk.”

Over the last week, Gaza has gone from the world’s largest open-air prison to its largest extermination camp. Following a surprise military offensive by Hamas, the Israeli regime has responded with an iron fist; cutting off the strip’s access to water, electricity and fuel, bombing key entry points to prevent humanitarian aid convoys, and bombarding schools, hospitals, and ambulances. Every single hour, a family is displaced or decimated by incessant airstrikes and white phosphorus bombs. None are spared, whether mothers, fathers, sons, daughters or even infants, barely weaned off their mother’s milk. 

Surrounding Arab states, which have either normalised relations or were on the verge of doing so, are now subject to the full brunt of public anger for their inaction and perceived collaboration with the regional enemy. As a genocide takes place on their doorstep, cracks are beginning to show within surrounding regimes. In Egypt, the religious institution of Al Azhar, a mouthpiece for the military dictatorship, issued a religious ruling urging Arab states to take whatever means necessary to protect Palestinians in Gaza. In Jordan, demands to open the border grow day by day, with rallies swelling by the thousands as sons request permission from their parents to partake in fighting the occupation, if the border with Israel is opened. Saudi Arabia, too, was forced to change their stance with public pressure – originally focused on condemnation of violence on both sides, they later released a statement condemning the Israeli occupation and called for the restoration of Palestinian rights. On the other hand, Iran, its regional allies (Syria, Lebanon and Iraq) and various militias (Hezbollah, the IRGC and others) have contradicted themselves and their pro-Palestinian rhetoric over the last few decades. Assad’s regime is too busy focused on flattening its opposition in Idlib; Hezbollah has limited itself to small skirmishes on the northern border with Lebanon, and other militias have made empty threats to involve themselves in the conflict if the United States carries out direct attacks on Palestinians. 

Gaza has once more been abandoned by those who promised it support. Its only hope of support now lies in the people of the surrounding region, who, through their growing outrage and resentment may make or break history in the coming days. Just like the early hours of Saturday 7th, we must expect the unexpected. 

‘If one day, a people desire to live, then fate will answer their call. And their night will then begin to fade, and their chains break and fall.’  – Abu Qasim as-Sha’abi, “The Will of Life”

Photo caption: Tens of thousands of Jordanians and Palestinian refugees demonstrate in Amman’s old town in support of Palestinians under siege in Gaza [Credit: Jordan News Agency]

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