Jordanian government makes arrests amid growing protests for Gaza

Jordanian government makes arrests amid growing protests for Gaza
Jordan announced that it had arrested several protesters on Sunday as demonstrations calling for the cancellation of the Jordan-Israel peace treaty grew.
2 min read
02 April, 2024
Human Rights Watch had criticised the Jordanian government's quashing of Pro-Palestine free speech. [Getty]

The Jordanian government arrested a number of protesters on Sunday as protests swelled in its capital city Amman, demanding the cancellation of the country's peace treaty with Israel.

Jordan's Public Security Directorate (PSD) announced that security forces arrested "a number of rioters" in a Palestinian refugee camp just outside Amman for acts of vandalism and rioting.

The PSD said police were dealing with the protests with "utmost discipline and professionalism," emphasising that they were doing their work to "enable citizens to express their opinions."

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Starting on 24 March, thousands of Jordanians have been protesting in front of the Israeli embassy, calling for the Jordanian government to cut off all relations with Israel – including its peace treaty with the country.

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the Wadi Araba peace agreement and have since signed agreements to cooperate in a number of fields, including water, electricity and natural gas. In November, the Jordanian government announced it would not sign a planned water-for-solar energy deal in light of Israel's war on Gaza, which has killed over 32,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. 

Still, Jordanians have said that this is not enough.

"Cancelling Wadi Araba is the primary demand, which would protect not only Palestinians but also Jordan from the Zionist entity [Israel]," Hamzeh Khader, a member of Jordan's Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement, told The New Arab.

The Jordanian government has arrested scores of protesters and at least two journalists over the last week, with videos showing police seizing protesters off the streets.

Protesters were charged with resisting arrest or assaulting security officers – claims that civil society activists have said were trumped up.

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The head of Jordan's General Federation of Trade Unions, Khaled al-Fanatasa, warned against "provoking internal strife … and tampering with the nation's security." Other former officials have made statements in recent days hinting that Hamas has provoked unrest in Jordan.

Though Hamas is popular among the overwhelmingly pro-Palestine Jordanian population, the Jordanian government sees it as a threat to its stability.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) in February criticised the Jordanian government for arresting "scores" of peaceful protesters engaged in Pro-Palestine demonstrations since October.

Despite security forces' targeting of Palestine protesters, demonstrations have continued unabated.

"Thousands of people continue to come to the street; this is their answer to arrests," Khader said.