Jordan helped Israel against Iran, now locals are protesting

Despite public anger about Israel’s conduct in Gaza, Jordan helped Israel fend off Iran’s drone attack. Jordanians who have protested against Israel feel betrayed.

By Cathrin Schaer | Emad Hassan | Hamza al-Shawabkeh
Apr. 15, 2024

he criticism began almost immediately. Over the weekend, Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel. Neighboring Jordan played a significant role in fending off the attack and it is likely that it shot down Iranian projectiles.

“The Jordanian king dropped missiles on his citizens to protect Israel,” one widely shared post on X, formerly known as Twitter, said. The words were posted alongside a picture of drone wreckage in the Jordanian city of Karak, which is not very far from the border with Israel. The post, in Arabic, was later changed to be less negative of Jordanian leadership, which is known to repress criticism.

“Jordan following the money as usual,” said one commentator.

“It’s irresponsible of them to shoot missiles down over their own cities,” another added.

A lot of anti-Jordan misinformation also appeared online, including posts that falsely accused the Jordanian king and his daughter, a pilot, of personal involvement. Others suggested that Jordanians had died when flaming wreckage fell on them. Though there was wreckage, the Jordanian government reported no injuries and specific videos showing wreckage turned out to be of oil tankers on fire several weeks earlier.

There were even accusations that the Jordanian government had signed a secret deal with Israel and the US to allow them access to Jordanian airspace.

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Many people in Jordan angry about support for Israel

Beyond the misinformation, others pointed to what they saw as the hypocrisy of their own government and those of other Arab countries that have condemned Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, called for a cease-fire and say they support the Palestinian cause. But then, their critics pointed out, they also helped defend Israel against Iran. Popular anger has largely targeted Jordan, but also the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

One in five people in Jordan,including the queen, are of Palestinian descent, and the Palestinian cause is close to the hearts of many. Many see the Jordanian military cooperation as a betrayal.

“I’m very upset at how Jordan defended Israel,” said Hussein, a political activist who would only give his first name because criticizing the Jordanian government can be dangerous. “A lot of people here do not accept this. We don’t support Iran and see it as a major cause of what is happening in Gaza. But we do stand with any action that deters Israel in Gaza.”

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