‘Liberate Gaza’: Thousands of Palestinians demonstrate across West Bank

Rallies include expressions of support for Hamas, amid ongoing war in Strip; clashes reported between PA security forces and Palestinians who approached Joseph’s Tomb

A Palestinian man flashes the victory sign during a solidarity march with the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 27, 2023, amid the war between Israel and Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group. (Aris Messinis/AFP)
A Palestinian man flashes the victory sign during a solidarity march with the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 27, 2023, amid the war between Israel and Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday across the West Bank in solidarity with those in the Gaza Strip, with some expressing support for Hamas amid Israel’s ongoing war against the terror group.

In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s seat of government, the crowd chanted slogans including: “liberate Gaza” and “the people want the [Izz ad-Din] al-Qassam Brigades” in reference to the military branch of Hamas.

Others waved Hamas flags along with banners representing a range of Palestinian factions.

Fakhi Barghouti, 80, said Palestinians in the West Bank “need to do more about the war in Gaza.”

Several people refused to answer AFP’s questions, believing that Western and particularly French media coverage of the war was “biased.”

Protests were also held in other West Bank cities, including Nablus, where clashes were reported between PA security forces and Palestinians who approached Joseph’s Tomb, regarded by some as the final resting place of the biblical patriarch.

Earlier Friday, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed it killed Ayser Mohammad Al-Amer, a field commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Jenin wing, during clashes in the Jenin refugee camp overnight.

The army also confirmed that it clashed with Palestinian gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp and the city of Qalqilya; Palestinians had reported four killed, including Al-Amer, in the two locations.

The army said it returned fire at Palestinians shooting at forces and rioters hurling explosive devices. No injuries were reported on the Israeli side.

Troops detained 17 members of the Hamas terror group, as well as 19 other wanted Palestinians, in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank, the IDF said.

Since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, troops have arrested some 1,030 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, including some 670 affiliated with Hamas, according to the military.

There have been numerous clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians in the West Bank in recent weeks, and several attempted terror attacks, the IDF says.

A Palestinian waves a Hamas flag during clashes with Israeli troops at the northern entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El on October 27, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, 110 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, and in some cases settlers, since October 7.

Separately, the IDF said the head of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, signed off on a demolition order against a home owned by Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri, in the town of ‘Arura, near Ramallah.

Protests in Jordan and Iraq

In Jordan on Friday, at least 5,000 people demonstrated in the capital Amman to demand that the kingdom’s peace treaty with Israel be annulled.

Jordan was the second Arab state to make peace with Israel in 1994, after Egypt in 1979.

AFP journalists said some protesters brandished pictures of US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the slogan: “Accomplices in crime.”

Similar protests took place in Zarqa, Mafraq, Tahila and Aqaba.

Demonstrators raise a sign condemning French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a rally in the Jordanian capital Amman held in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, on October 27, 2023, amid the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

In Iraq, firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr demanded that the government close the US embassy in Baghdad in response to Washington’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas.

Sadr warned on X, formerly Twitter, that if this does not happen “we will take a different position that we will announce later.”

Iraq does not recognize Israel, but the Iran-backed government must also consider its relations with the United States, which has 2,500 soldiers deployed in the country.

On October 7, throngs of Hamas-led terrorists poured from Gaza into Israel under the cover of massive rocket fire, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping some 230 more.

In response to the onslaught, Israel launched an offensive aimed at destroying Hamas’s infrastructure, and vowing to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates, while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.

In air and artillery strikes that Israel has carried out the past three weeks, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza says over 7,300 people have been killed in the Strip. The figures cannot be independently verified and include Palestinian terrorists killed fighting the IDF as well as civilians killed as a result of errant rockets launched by terror groups.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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