Which countries have cancelled New Year's celebrations for Gaza?

Which countries have cancelled New Year's celebrations for Gaza?
New Year's celebrations in the Arab and Muslim world have been overshadowed by sadness and horror over the continued Israeli assault on Gaza.
3 min read
31 December, 2023
Despite the presence of some decorations on the streets, Pakistan has banned new year celebrations [Getty]

As the year approaches an end, Israel’s ongoing assault on the besieged Gaza Strip shows no sign of ending and scores of people are being killed every day. 

Amid growing outrage over Israel's mass killing of Palestinians and increasing calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, certain countries have decided to ban New Year's celebrations in a show of solidarity.

Following subdued Christmas celebrations in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territoriessouthern Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, other countries have followed suit regarding New year festivities

On Thursday, Pakistan stated that it will be banning New Year's Eve celebrations to show support to Palestinians in Gaza, the government announced, urging people to instead "observe simplicity". 

In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said because of the situation in the Gaza Strip, the government had "completely banned all kinds of events regarding the New Year celebrations". 

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"The entire Pakistani nation and the Muslim Ummah were deeply saddened by the genocide of the oppressed Palestinians, especially the massacre of innocent children, in Gaza and the West Bank,” Kakar said. 

New Year's Eve is usually marked in boisterous fashion in Pakistan, with fireworks and aerial gunfire - as well as a bank holiday on January 1. 

Sharjah, an emirate of the United Arab Emirates, on Thursday also banned New Year's Eve fireworks over the war in Gaza. 

The ban was "a sincere expression of solidarity and humanitarian cooperation with our siblings in the Gaza Strip", Sharjah police said in a Facebook post. 

However, in other UAE emirates and elsewhere in the Middle East, celebrations are set to proceed as planned. 

The UAE capital Abu Dhabi is expected to feature a record-breaking hour-long firework display at the Sheikh Zayed Festival. Dubai will also host a series of fireworks shows in tourist hotspots such as Global Village, Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa. 

In the Lebanese capital of Beirut, street gatherings and party destinations have been arranged for NYE, while Qatar’s Doha and Lusail City are set to host NYE-themed events and fireworks displays. 

Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan are also expected to join billions around the world to ring in the new year. 

Meanwhile, newly launched online campaign Countdown 2 Ceasefire aims to take advantage of the popularity of New Year celebrations to make an urgent demand for a halt to deadly Israeli attacks

Accumulating up to 30,000 followers on Instagram, Countdown 2 Ceasefire has advised supporters to join NYE events on 31 December by displaying banners calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza- as well as shouting “Ceasefire Now” during the countdown to the New Year. 

The campaign launch has taken place amid Israel's relentless aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza. 

The war, which began after Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel, has left the Gaza Strip in ruins, and killed at least 21,822 people, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Agencies contributed to this report.