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Israel-Palestine war: Jordanian police accused of 'treason' for targeting demonstrators

Jordanians marching in solidarity met with tear gas as King Abdullah meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
A Jordanian protesting in solidarity with Palestinians stands against a backdrop of tear gas fired by police (Social media)

Jordanian police have started firing tear gas at protesters marching towards the West Bank border in solidarity with Palestinians, according to media reports and footage circulating on social media.

Widespread protests are taking place in support of the Palestinians, with marchers heading towards the border as they respond to calls for global solidarity after days of heavy Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Jordanian government has asked people to avoid confrontations amidst the growing tensions.

"We are here to support the Palestinian people in Gaza," one Jordanian told Middle East Eye from Na'ur, an area southwest of the capital Amman. "I have seen scores of police, who have attacked us. They cannot suppress our rights. We are here to defend our human rights."

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"Jordan is beside Palestine. We are here because of our feelings for a people without weapons," he added. 

Others marching towards the border accused the police of "treason" for firing tear gas. In videos circulating online, Jordanians can be heard shouting that the attacks on them are "shameful", as well as chanting "no to betrayal orders".

"There are Palestinians living under occupation, it is your duty to help them, shameful," one man shouted at police officers close to Jordan's border. 

In a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Amman on Friday, Jordan's King Abdullah II warned against displacing Palestinians from Gaza, as Israel readies its troops for a ground invasion of the coastal enclave.

The Jordanian king also called for the prevention of a “spillover of the crisis into neighbouring countries and the exacerbation of the refugee issue.” 

On Thursday, Blinken was in Israel meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The top US diplomat has urged the people of Gaza to evacuate to the south, a demand the United Nations said was impossible to carry out "without devastating humanitarian consequences".

Israel has also warned 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to move to the south of the besieged territory as it prepares for a ground invasion.

Tensions had been simmering in Jordan after the Palestinian group Hamas urged tribes and armies from neighbouring countries to join the fight against Israel, as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise.

Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Palestinian group's office in the diaspora, said on Wednesday that the governments and people of Jordan, SyriaLebanon and Egypt had a responsibility to support Palestinians in Gaza who were enduring a total blockade.

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"Tribes of Jordan, sons of Jordan, brothers and sisters of Jordan… This is a moment of truth and the borders are close to you, you all know your responsibility," Meshaal said.

Hamas launched its biggest attack on Israel in years on Saturday when it launched a multi-pronged assault on southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 people and taking as many as 100 hostages. 

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