Omanis take to the streets in Muscat's embassy district to support Palestine

Hundreds march in Muscat's embassy district to demand foreign governments act to stop the exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants

Omanis took to the streets to support the Palestinian cause. Saleh Al-Shaibany for The National
Omanis took to the streets to support the Palestinian cause. Saleh Al-Shaibany for The National

Hundreds of Omanis demonstrated alongside Palestinian expatriates in Muscat’s embassy district on Thursday, demanding foreign governments stand with Palestine.

Chants in English and Arabic of “Israel stop killing Palestinians” and “Palestinians have rights, too” could be heard during the three-hour demonstration, a rare occurrence in the sultanate.

Other demonstrators carried placards reading: “Free Palestine” and “Stop killing Palestinian children”.

The group walked from one end of the foreign embassies area in the east of the capital to the other, stopping at each diplomatic building to shout slogans.

Protesters told The National they wanted foreign governments to act to defend Gaza, where at least 230 people – including 65 children – have been killed since rocket fire by Palestinian militant factions and the Israeli military began on May 10.

Ten people have been killed in Israel by rockets, including two children, with 115 wounded.

“The ambassadors of these foreign embassies must put pressure on Israel to stop attacking Gaza instead of using just the lip service. They have a humanitarian duty to use their diplomatic ties with Israel to make them stop the violence,” said Salim Al Raisi, 27, an Omani who took part in the demonstration.

“We are making the most noise at the US embassy because America has the power to stop Israel from this aggression. Palestinians have rights, too, not just Israelis. It should not be one side that has to follow the rules and regulations,” said Ali Al Hinai, 43, another Omani demonstrator.

“It is about time the US put genuine pressure to stop violence and give Palestinians their legitimate right.”

On Wednesday, four rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel and Israel's military responded by firing artillery shells at "a number of targets in Lebanese territory".

Omanis took to the streets to support the Palestinian cause. Saleh Al-Shaibany for The National
Omanis took to the streets to support the Palestinian cause. Saleh Al-Shaibany for The National

A Palestinian embassy spokesman said that it “was gratifying” to see a show of solidarity from Omanis in the demonstration.

“We are emotionally moved and very grateful to see so many Omanis here demonstrating against Israel for Palestine’s rights. God bless them all in this moving show of solidarity,” he told The National.

Omani police were watching on the sides but did not intervene in the three-hour peaceful demonstration.

Oman has long had ties with Israel and in 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to the sultanate to meet Sultan Qaboos and top Omani officials.

After several Arab states normalised relations with Israel last year, Omani Foreign Minister Badr Al Busaidi said in February, “we are content so far with the level of our current relations and dialogue, which involves the appropriate channels of communication”.

Updated: May 20, 2021 09:41 PM

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