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Jordanians strike in solidarity with Gaza

1 min

A strike in support of Gaza swept Jordan on Monday, the biggest in decades, underscoring the kingdom's deep-rooted ties with the Palestinian cause.

Many shops were closed in Amman Reuters

A strike in support of Gaza swept Jordan on Monday, the biggest in decades, underscoring the kingdom's deep-rooted ties with the Palestinian cause.

But the one-day strike found little resonance in other Arab countries.

The National and Islamic Forces, a loose coalition of  Palestinion factions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, had called this week for a global strike in protest at Israel's "genocide" in Gaza. The coalition includes Hamas, the militant group supported by Iran that stormed southern Israel on October 7, leading to the break out of the current war.

Traffic in Amman and other cities across the kingdom was light as most shops and small businesses closed, although many large corporations remained open.

In the Sweifieh retail district, 80 per cent of businesses shut for the day. Among them were mobile phone shops, felafel sellers, money exchangers and two branches of Carrefour, which had been undermined in Jordan by a boycott over perceived French support for Israel.

While there is widespread sympathy for the plight of Gaza in Jordan, Hamas's relationship with the authorities have been historically beset by political and security problems, which led to the expulsion of the leadership of the group from Jordan to Syria in 1999.

At the beginning of the current war, Khaled Meshaal, a senior figure in Hamas, struck a raw nerve in Jordan when he suggested in a speech that Jordanian tribes should intervene across the border in Gaza in support of Hamas.

Call for strike poorly followed in the Arab world

A large proportion of the kingdom's 10 million people are descendants of Palestinians who had fled to the kingdom in 1948 and in 1967, from what is now Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza.

The rest of the population are comprised mostly of tribes who played a main role in the foundation of Jordan as a British protectorate in 1921.

In Lebanon, the government ordered all public administrations and state-owned enterprises to close on Monday "in solidarity with the Palestinian people" and with southern Lebanon, which has been the scene of intense fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, another Iranian-backed group, aimed at diverting Israel's military capabilities from Gaza.

Banks, schools and universities were observing the strike, while some businesses and public sector organisations were given the choice to participate.

In Beirut, streets were as busy as usual, with most shop owners choosing not to heed the call.

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