By Middle East Affairs
The capitals of Iran and Iraq filled with thousands of Shiite Muslims to protest Israeli treatment of Palestinians on “Jerusalem Day”.
Some of the protesters burned Israeli flags and effigies of President Donald Trump in an annual demonstration against Israel’s occupation of the holy city of Jerusalem.
Palestinian protestors are expected in the thousands today to protest their blockage by Israel and Egypt which keep Palestinians under travel bans, without adequate access to healthcare and education, and prevent them from finding steady employment.
The protests being held on Friday are to mark Jerusalem Day which Iran initialized following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
To mark the special day, a large number of protestors are expected leading many to worry about the high turnouts of killed and wounded Palestinians by Israeli forces. Since the Great Return marches began in March, 122 Palestinians have been killed and over 3900 have been injured by Israeli soldiers with the intention to disable them for life.
Cars touring neighborhoods in Gaza with large speakers and mosques blasted the message by organizers calling Palestinians to head to the border after noon prayers.
Protests so far have seen over 30,000 people with most sitting a few hundred meters away from the fence, smaller groups have approached the fence either with rocks or burning tires where they have been met with Israeli bullets and tear gas.
On Friday morning Israeli drones dropped arsenic materials on old tires so they would be unsuitable by Palestinians later in the day.
The international community has spoken out against Israel’s extreme use of fire that has left hundreds of Palestinians dead and thousands of thousands wounded. Human rights groups have said that Israel’s use of open fire is unlawful, especially compared to the mostly unarmed Palestinians that show up to protest.
Israel has placed the blame on Hamas, citing them as the main perpetrators of violence, Hamas has in return mentioned the possibility of mass border breaches.
On the last Friday of Ramadan, Jerusalem Day protests are held, known in Arabic as Al Quds Day,” which was the city’s historic name.
Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and took over its capital, even though the majority of the international community does not recognize its capture. Israel refuses to a two-state solution with Palestinian in a peace deal.
Chants on Friday in Tehran could be heard from thousands, “Death to Israel”. Iran and Israel are major enemies in the region, with Iran not recognizing Israel.
In Iraq, thousands of Shiite militiamen in uniform marched in the streets of Baghdad setting an Israeli flag on fire.