Thursday, Sept. 03
Latest News
  1. Chung claims 'fraud' in FIFA presidential poll
  2. Obama expected to press Saudi King on conflicts in Syria, Yemen
  3. UN: 13 million children denied education by Mideast wars
  4. Drowned toddler sparks fresh horror over Europe migrant crisis
  5. IS claims Yemen Shiite mosque attack that killed 28
  6. US calls for release of Chinese rights activists
  7. Trial of Congolese rebel opens with gruesome images
  8. Gunmen kills 2 Yemeni staff of Red Cross
  9. Iran to confiscate cars of 'poorly veiled' women
  10. 'At least 50 dead' in Shebab attack on AU base
  11. Thousands arrive in Athens as migrant influx piles pressure on EU
  12. Millions strike in India over 'anti-labor reforms'
  13. Turkish connection probed in Bangkok bomber search
  14. Italy ready to impose border controls after Germany request
  15. Israel opposes Palestinian flag-raising at the UN
  16. Saudi top cleric slams Iran prophet movie
  17. Qatar to enforce key labor reform from November
  18. Lebanon government powerless as protesters escalate campaign
  19. Car bomb kills 10 in Syria regime bastion Latakia
  20. Gunmen kidnap 18 Turks in Iraq capital

Video: Protesters denounce Gaza blockade

Dec. 31, 2009 4:29 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2010 9:42 P.M.)
By Jared Malsin

Erez Crossing – Ma’an – Some 500 demonstrators called on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza during a demonstration at the Erez crossing point on Thursday, as part of the Gaza Freedom March initiative.

The demonstrators, mostly Palestinians living inside Israel, said they came to express solidarity with Gaza residents.

“We want to lift the siege of Gaza,” said Mouad Khatib, 24, a translator from Haifa.

“But our other demands, which are equally essential – I would not call them secondary – are to call on the Egyptian government and President Hosni Mubarak not to participate the siege,” he said.

“We also say to the Palestinian people in Gaza: We are one people, and we are with you all the way. We ask them not to stop defending their land,” he added.

Asked if he thought demonstrations would have a significant effect on Israeli or Egyptian policy, he said: “I don’t think so – They’re not listening to their own people. But at least we’ll be internally, in our own souls, comfortable that we are not just watching this take place.”

Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in June 2007 after the elected Hamas government took full control of Gaza during a period of violent infighting with the rival Fatah movement.

The prime minister of the Gaza-based government, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, addressed the protesters via mobile phone.

“Because of international solidarity and your support, we have become stronger," Haniyeh declared, according to a report by German news agency DPA. "The Palestinian nation will never give up its national aspirations or its right to Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine and the Islamic people."

Thursday’s march was intended to coincide with a thousand-strong march of international protesters from the Gaza side of the crossing. However, Egypt denied entry to the Strip to most of the Gaza Freedom March’s participants.

Nonetheless, a spirited crowed appeared on the Israeli side of the border, most arriving on buses organized by the Higher Arab Follow-up Committee.

Surrounded by Israeli police in riot gear, including some on horseback, demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans, including “No, no, no to the siege,” and “Oh Fatah, oh Hamas, unity is fundamental.”

They also held banners including one reading, “ISRAEL: End your PERSECUTION. WORLD: End your INDIFFERENCE.”

International and Jewish-Israeli activists also joined the demonstration.

Sergio Yahni, an Israeli and the program director of the NGO Alternative Information Center (AIC), which organized busses to the protest, said he thought demonstrations would have some effect on the Israeli government.

“These types of actions, with Palestinians, internationals, and Israelis together, have a commutative effect – It’s not just one action,” he said.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015