By Sophie Squire
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‘We strike for Gaza,’ says trade unionist in Jordan

There are specific demands about commercial deals with Israel
Foreign Secretary, David Cameron meets with the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi

Ruling class solidarity. Foreign secretary David Cameron met Jordanian foreignmMinister Ayman Safadi in December (Picture: FCO on  Flickr)

Popular anger over Israel’s assault on the Palestinians is ablaze across Jordan, which shares a border with Israel and the West Bank.

At points the state has sought to ride this tide. At others it has repressed the movement as it threatens to escape the rulers’ control.

Refugees of Palestinian descent make up a sizeable proportion of Jordanian society—around two million in a country with a population of just over 11 million.

Jordan’s capital city, Amman, is just 90 miles away from Gaza.

A Jordanian trade ­unionist, who has been imprisoned repeatedly, spoke to Socialist Worker about the state’s ­reaction to protests for Palestine.

“When the barbaric Zionist war on Gaza was launched, the presence of Jordanian society, including the ­working class, was powerful, and we did not feel strong pressure from the security services,” he said.

“But as time passed, we noticed the intensification of security measures. The more the popular pressure increased, the more security pressure increased. The state arrested many activists.

“The intensity of the ­popular marches, which were daily at first, has decreased due to the increasing security grip.”

The recent rounds of attacks on protests are down to how the Jordanian state wants to maintain its ­relationship with Israel.

The Jordanian state has always been complicit in the slaughter of the Palestinians from when it murdered thousands of Palestinians living within its borders in September 1970 to now.

In 1994, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, King Hussein of Jordan, and US president Bill Clinton signed a peace treaty which normalised relations between Jordan and Israel. Natural gas has been piped from Israel to  Jordan following a deal in 2020. And even as Israel’s assault on Gaza continued, Jordan has pushed for more deals with the Zionist state.

One would see Jordan exchange its solar energy supply for desalinated water from Israel.

According to Israeli media, the deal will only be settled if the Jordanian state tempers its criticism of the apartheid state.

But as the trade unionist explained, the fury ordinary people feel in Jordan won’t easily be sedated.

He explained that since 7 October, “We have demanded our government cuts all ties with the Israeli government. We don’t want an Israeli embassy in Jordan, and we want to bring the Jordanian embassy out of Israel.”

“In my union, we were ­honoured to be among the most prominent leaders of the national campaign to drop the gas agreement with the Zionist entity.

“We’ve been on marches and rallies outside the embassies of the United States, Italy, Germany, France and other Western nations.”

“We also conducted and participated in blood donation campaigns and humanitarian aid to families in Gaza.”

The trade unionist added that workers have struck in support of Palestine since 7 October, which his union has supported.

“The workers’ movement is with the Palestinians,” he said. “Our union calls for all workers to stand with Gaza.”

But he added that much of the industrial action for pay and conditions has largely been postponed until after Israel stops its attacks on Gaza.

Workers are right to back the Palestinian cause, but strikes that confront the bosses directly are still vital.

Only by confronting and toppling bosses and corrupt ruling classes across the Middle East can workers win liberation for the Palestinians and themselves.

A struggle combining ­economics and politics—and with each growing from the other—could truly shake the ruling classes across the region.

  • Picture source here

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