Arab Backing for Palestinians Grows


BEIRUT – In mosques, football stadiums and towns across the Arab world, pro-Palestinian sentiment has surged after the Hamas raid on Israel, sparking a groundswell of solidarity for Palestinians.

From Ramallah to Beirut, Damascus, Bagh­dad and Cairo, people have distributed sweets, danced and chanted prayers in support of the resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

“My entire life, I have seen Israel kill us, confiscate our lands and arrest our children,” said Farah Al Saadi, a 52-year-old coffee vendor from Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“I was pleased by what Hamas did,” said the man, whose son is in Israeli detention, adding however that he feared the scale of “Israeli crimes in Gaza” in retaliation.

“I do not think there is a single Palestinian who does not support what happened,” said Issam Abu Bakr, a Palestinian official in occupied West Bank.

The Hamas attack was a “natural reaction to the crimes committed by Israel”, which has “turned its back on the political negotiation process”, he added.’

‘Die silently’

Hours after the raid began on Saturday, Palesti­nian supporters distributed sweets in south Lebanon and in Beirut.

Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war and Israeli troops occupied the country’s south for 22 years.

Residents of the southern port city of Sidon set off firecrackers and gathered in public squares as mosques blasted chants praising “Palestinian resistance fighters who are writing the most wonderful, heroic epic”.

rally was held at the American University of Beirut, where 18-year-old Palestinian student Reem Sobh said: “We are unable to carry weapons but at least, we are able to support them.”

On Instagram, Leba­nese comedian Shaden Fakih explained the wave of support widely condemned in the West.

“What do you expect from Palestinians? To get killed every day and not do anything about it… to die silently?” she said in a video.

“They will carry arms and fight back. This is their right,” she added, noting that she “can be against Hamas and still support any armed resistance against the oppressor, against (Israeli) apartheid”.

In the Tunisian capital, schools raised Palestinian flags and a coalition of organisations and political parties have called for massive solidarity rallies.

The presidency declared its “full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people” and of their right to resist occupation.

’Nothing to lose

In Damascus, the Palestinian flag lit up the city’s opera house.

Syrian university em­plo­yee Marah Sulei­man, 42, said the Hamas attack “stirred up a feeling within us that had not been moved for many years, and revived the spirit of resistance”.

Palestinians “have nothing to lose after all the killing, destruction and displacement they have been subjected to”, she said. In Egypt, which bans unauthorised protests, foot­ball fans turned matches into displays of solidarity, with pro-Palestinian chants.

In the war-scarred Iraqi capital Baghdad, paramilitaries trampled and tor­ch­ed Israeli flags during rallies in Tahrir Square.

Even Gulf states joined the wave of solidarity despite the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalise relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2020.

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