Protests across Muslim world after hospital strike

Published October 19, 2023
People protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in Sanaa, Yemen October 18, 2023. — Reuters
People protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in Sanaa, Yemen October 18, 2023. — Reuters
(clockwise from top) Protesters hold a demonstration in Quezon City, Philippines, on Wednesday condemning the blast at the Ahli Arabi hospital in Gaza; members of the US Jewish community protest in the US Capitol in Washington against Israeli attacks; and Lebanese security forces use water cannons as they clash with protesters outside the US Embassy in Awkar, east of Beirut, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration.—AFP
(clockwise from top) Protesters hold a demonstration in Quezon City, Philippines, on Wednesday condemning the blast at the Ahli Arabi hospital in Gaza; members of the US Jewish community protest in the US Capitol in Washington against Israeli attacks; and Lebanese security forces use water cannons as they clash with protesters outside the US Embassy in Awkar, east of Beirut, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration.—AFP

 (clockwise from top) Protesters hold a demonstration in Quezon City, Philippines, on Wednesday condemning the blast at the Ahli Arabi hospital in Gaza; members of the US Jewish community protest in the US Capitol in Washington against Israeli attacks; and Lebanese security forces use water cannons as they clash with protesters outside the US Embassy in Awkar, east of Beirut, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration.—AFP
(clockwise from top) Protesters hold a demonstration in Quezon City, Philippines, on Wednesday condemning the blast at the Ahli Arabi hospital in Gaza; members of the US Jewish community protest in the US Capitol in Washington against Israeli attacks; and Lebanese security forces use water cannons as they clash with protesters outside the US Embassy in Awkar, east of Beirut, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration.—AFP

BEIRUT: Thousands rallied across the Arab and Muslim world on Wednesday to protest the deaths of hundreds of people by an Israeli attack on a Gaza hospital.

The strike provoked outrage and condemnation from around the world, with protests on the streets of Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkiye, Yemen and the Occupied West Bank.

“Death to America, death to Israel,” hundreds of Hezbollah supporters chanted at a rally in Beirut’s southern suburbs. “The Israelis will try to target more hospitals, rescue workers, civil defence volunteers and Gaza’s residents without flinching, in order to push Gaza’s people out,” senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine told the demonstrators.

Protesters took to the streets of the West Bank city of Ramallah and Nablus, shouting “Free, free Palestine”.

While in Tunisia, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters rallied outside the French embassy, condemning Western support for Israel. Some waved Palestinian flags while others demanded the ambassador be expelled, accusing France of being among the Western “allies of the Zionists”, AFP journalists reported.

Israeli attack provokes outrage and condemnation from around the world

Some 5,000 Jordanians gathered outside the Israeli embassy, demanding the expulsion of Israel’s diplomatic mission. Security forces blocked off roads leading to the embassy but the size of the demonstration looked set to swell due to the anger in Jordan, which is home to many Palestinian refugees.

Fury grows

In the Syrian capital Damascus, hundreds of people with Palestinian flags gathered near parliament, many wearing T-shirts bearing the image of President Bashar al-Assad. “Martyrdom or victory,” one banner read.

In Tehran in the early hours of Wednesday, protesters gathered outside the British and French embassies, an AFP correspondent said. “Death to France and England,” protesters shouted, throwing eggs at the walls of the French embassy compound in the Iranian capital. The gatherings ended peacefully.

Several thousand people also gathered in Palestine Square in central Tehran to voice their anger, according to an AFP photographer.

Overnight Turks marched with Palestinian flags and chanted slogans denouncing Israel in at least a dozen Turkish cities, including outside the Israeli embassy in the capital Ankara.

Police used pepper spray and water cannon to disperse thousands of protesters who tried to enter the compound of Israel’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkiye’s largest city. Five people were detained, the Istanbul governor’s office said.

Israel’s National Security Council (NSC) issued a warning against travel to Turkiye, it also urged Israeli citizens in Turkiye to leave as soon as possible.

Global outrage

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in a strike on a hospital in Gaza”. Guterres “strongly condemned” the strike but without attributing responsibility.

The African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat accused Israel of a “war crime” following the deadly strike. “There are no words to fully express our condemnation of Israel’s bombing of a #Gaza hospital today [Tuesday], killing hundreds of people,” Faki said on X, formerly Twitter.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told EU lawmakers “there is no excuse for hitting a hospital full of civilians” and that “fact need to be established” and “all those responsible must be held accountable”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said “nothing can justify targeting civilians” and that “humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip must be opened without delay”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was “horrified” by the strike and wrote on X that “a thorough investigation of the incident is imperative”. Indonesia said the strike “clearly violates international humanitarian law”. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called the strike an “unjustifiable tragedy” without attributing blame.

China’s foreign ministry said it is “shocked by and strongly condemns” the strike, calling for an “immediate ceasefire”. The foreign ministry said the strike was a “crime” and “act of dehumanisation”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemned the strike, saying “hospitals should be sanctuaries to preserve human life, not scenes of death and destruction”.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it was “horrified by the recent bombing of the Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City, which was treating patients and hosting displaced Gazans”.

Spain’s foreign ministry condemned “the terrible massacre… All our solidarity with the innocent civilian victims.” “Hospitals must never be a target,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares separately wrote on X.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the strike as “the latest example of Israeli attacks devoid of the most basic human values”. “I invite all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented brutality in Gaza,” Erdogan wrote on X.

President Biden said he was “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion” and “the terrible loss of life that resulted”. Biden said he had spoken to Jordanian King and Israeli Prime Minister “immediately upon hearing this news.”

The WHO chief warned that “The situation in #Gaza is spiralling out of control”. “We need violence on all sides to stop,” he said on X.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...
Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...