'Resistance is honourable': Kuwaitis march for Palestine

'Resistance is honourable': Kuwaitis and Palestinians march for Palestine
4 min read
19 May, 2021
Kuwaitis have taken to the street in a show of solidarity with Palestine amid the Israeli bombing of Gaza.
A pro-Palestine protest in Kuwait [Getty]

Kuwaitis have held protests in support of Palestine as Israel continues its attacks on civilians in occupied East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza.

At least 219 Palestinians have been killed by the ongoing Israeli attacks targeting the besieged Gaza Strip, which came after weeks of Israeli violence against protesters in the occupied West Bank.

Protests in support of Palestinians have broken out across the world, including in Kuwait.

On Monday, Kuwaiti residents took part in a - initially unauthorised - protest close to the interior ministry. As the crowds grew, the interior ministry withdrew its security forces and allowed the demonstration to continue unhindered.

"We refuse two Nakbas," protesters chanted outside the national assembly, referring to the mass displacement of Palestinians during the creation of Israel.

Posters in support of Palestine have also appeared across the country. One condemned "Zionism" and hailed Palestinian resistance to the Israeli onslaught and has been widely shared on social media.

"Teach your children that Palestine is under occupation, Al-Aqsa Mosque is precious and the Zionist entity is the enemy, resistance is honourable and there is no such country called Israel #NormalisationIsBetrayal," the Arabic-language poster read. 

The same poster periodically pops up across Kuwait during times of heightened violence and normalisation.

The last time it emerged on Kuwaiti streets was in September 2020 when Bahrain officially normalised ties with Israel.

Read also: Bahrainis protesting Israel normalisation 'in secret' amid fears of Arab Spring style crackdown

The unrest in Israel and Palestinian Territories has been ongoing for several weeks. 

Palestinian citizens of Israel say they have been unfairly targeted in arrest campaigns by authorities and become the targets of attacks - including lynching and vandalism - by far-right Israelis and settlers.

During the month of Ramadan, Israel carried out a systematic campaign of harassment and intimidation against Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque - the third holiest site in Islam - injuring hundreds.

It has led to the worst Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque for years, amplified by attacks on demonstrations against the planned uprooting of Palestinian residents from the nearby neighbourhood Sheikh Jarrah

Hundreds turned up at the first protest outside the National Assembly on 11 May - a day after the Israeli bombardment of Gaza began - demanding a half to the violence. 

Read also: 'You will be held accountable': Palestinians in Jerusalem receive 'threatening' text messages from Israeli intelligence

They carried Kuwaiti and Palestinian flags, with signs upholding that Palestinians are "the strongest and most resilient" people with posters featuring the popular hashtag: "Kuwaitis against normalisation".

"No state can claim the house of a woman that is older than the state itself," read one poster, referring to Israel's attempts to expel elderly Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. 

"The solidarity shown by Kuwait in support of the Palestinians is the only grain of hope for many Palestinian diasporas in neighbouring Arab countries," said Bana Qawwas, a Palestinian resident of Kuwait.

The protest held at Al-Erada Square, outside the parliament and National Assembly, highlighted the "perpetual unity, harmony and cooperation" between Kuwait and Palestine, she said.

"The demonstrations continue to prove that Kuwait says 'no!' to the normalisation.

"During the protest and generally in Kuwait, the atmosphere is comforting and soothing to all Palestinians, giving a feeling of safety and shelter in a country foreign to their own." said Qawwas.

She said those unable to attend the protest showed their support for Palestine on social media.

Kuwaiti activists have echoed Qawwas' sentiments on pro-Palestine activism being paramount to their national mission.

"It's very rare to find a Kuwaiti who is not pro-Palestine. In fact, I think that 100 percent of Kuwaitis support Palestine. Just two days ago, Kuwaiti football players showed solidarity with Palestine by wearing Palestine scarves before a local championship game," Kareema, a Kuwaiti activist told The New Arab

Kareema, whose real name was changed for security reasons, recalled the Palestinian friends she had as a child and the injustices they faced at the hands of Israeli aggression. 

"I remember this one incident that happened to one of my friends. He visited Palestine for the summer and came back with a gunshot wound - an innocent 13-year-old who was visiting his family."

She also expressed pride in her country’s stance against normalisation, when several Gulf and Arab states established ties with Israel last year and Kuwait refused.

"In 2020... a speaker of Kuwait's parliament rejected the 'Deal of the Century' and threw it into the 'garbage of history'. There are multiple videos of Kuwait leader's expressing their disgust towards normalising ties with Israel,” Kareema explained.