Can the Jordan protest movement force a divorce with Israel?

Can the Jordan protest movement force a divorce with Israel?
5 min read
Jordan - Amman
04 April, 2024

For the past 10 days, Jordanian-Palestinian paediatrician Mohammad Al-Humaidy has broken his fast outside the Israeli embassy in Amman.

The doctor, who lives in Zarqa (30 kilometres east of Amman), travels every day to the Jordanian capital in a car carrying four other passengers.

They wouldn't normally share a car — they aren't involved in politics nor travel daily to Amman — but for the past 10 days, they have travelled together with a common goal: to protest Jordan's relations with Israel. 

"It's been almost 30 years since the Wadi Araba agreement was signed, yet the Jordanian public remains resolute in their support for Palestine, firmly opposing the Israeli occupation"

From March 25, thousands of demonstrators have attempted to storm the Israeli embassy in Amman to force Jordan to break relations with Israel. The protests have led to clashes with the security forces and widespread arrests. 

Organised by the National Forum for Supporting the Resistance — an alliance of political parties and activists — the protest movement in Jordan was revived on March 25 after reports of Israeli soldiers raping Gazan women in al-Shifa hospital filtered through the streets.

Since then, thousands of protestors — averaging nearly 6,000 per day — have descended on the Kaloti Mosque in the Amman neighbourhood of Al-Rabieh, three kilometres away from the Israeli embassy. 

Approximately 50% of Jordan's population is of Palestinian descent [Getty Images]
Approximately 50% of Jordan's population is of Palestinian descent [Getty Images]

At the protests, Mohammad and thousands of others demand that Jordan take a stronger stance towards Israel, despite the countries having normalised relations since the Wadi Araba Treaty of 1994.

"It's a great shame that Jordanian vegetables are being exported to Israel while our people in Gaza die of hunger," Mohammad explains.

"We are here to show our support for Gaza. We also want to stop Jordan's gas agreement with Israel. We want to end the 'peace agreement' and we demand the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. We also call for the release of detained Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons without charge."


A post shared by 7iber | حبر (@7iber)

Is the Jordanian government worried?

According to the Jordanian government, the Muslim Brotherhood is instigating the protests, which has made the political establishment worried about their growing strength and mobilisation on the streets.

During a press conference on April 2, Jordanian government spokesman and Minister of Communications Muhannad Moubaideen expressed his concern: "The government has no problem with demonstrations...But the problem is with those who harm national security and chant unacceptable slogans."

As a result, Jordanian security forces have arrested "key persons and influencers" of the protests, including engineer Maysara Malas, a member of the National Forum for Supporting the Resistance, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Action Front party.

Live Story

The government also accuses the Islamic Action Front party of exploiting the protests to build credibility for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for next summer. 

Thabet Assaf, media spokesperson of the Islamic Action Front party, spoke to The New Arab about the Jordanian government's reaction. "The Muslim Brotherhood is a political force in Jordan, it's natural for us to respond to Israel's assault on Gaza.

"There have been efforts to isolate the Islamic movement in Jordan. However, we are part of the Jordanian people's demands to reject the [Israeli] occupation's aggression," Thabet says.

Thabet also alleges a systematic attempt to silence pro-Palestinian sentiment in Jordan. "Writers, ministers, and social media have colluded to stop us yet we continue to protest. We've inspired an uprising in the West Bank. We are not affected by establishment efforts — we're bound by a blood bond far stronger than personal interests," the media spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, outside the Israeli embassy, Jordanian protestors chant: "I have a voice, I chant against the land bridge, the land bridge is treason", "We are sorry for Gaza too, we are besieged, I have a voice from Amman", and "Oh cowardly Arab governments, I have a voice!"

The boycott movement in Jordan strikes back

Alongside protests, the boycott of Israeli-linked goods in Jordan continues to grow.

The boycott movement has been successful in Jordan, forcing major brands like Carrefour to close some of its branches, whilst inflicting huge losses on restaurants like McDonald's.

A 'boycott-friendly' industry has flourished, with Jordanian companies selling products which are occupation-free. 

Enas Hajeer, a member of the BDS Jordan campaign, told The New Arab about the movement's success. "The boycott is an effective weapon in Jordan and we've used it against specific companies. This is the smallest thing that we can do in response to Israel's massacres in Gaza," Enas explains.

"These companies must understand that there is a price that they will pay if they continue to support the Israeli occupation and the genocide in Gaza. Boycotting is an effective weapon to liberate society from the shackles of unethical corporate consumerism."

Live Story

There are several boycott movements in Jordan, including The Enemy's Gas is Occupation campaign, the Gathering to Support the Resistance and Confront Normalisation, the Arab Boycott Committee, and the Shame on You campaign, where Jordanian youth put posters on shops selling Israeli goods.

It's been almost 30 years since the Wadi Araba agreement was signed, yet the Jordanian public remains resolute in their support for Palestine, firmly opposing the Israeli occupation.

Today, Mohammad Al-Humaidy will wait to break his fast outside the Israeli embassy. After drinking water and eating a date, he, and thousands of others, will chant in unison against the injustice taking place in Gaza.

Mohammad Ersan is a freelance journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Radio Al-Balad and His work has been published in Al-Monitor and Middle East Eye.

Follow him on X: @JournalistErsan