Thursday, December 31, 2009

March at Erez [Beit Hanoun] crossing to protest the Gaza siege

March to Erez crossing to protest Gaza blockade | NECN

(NECN/AP Television) - Hundreds of protestors were marching on Thursday morning from both the Gaza and Israel sides towards the Erez crossing on the border between the Palestinian coastal strip and Israel, in a protest at the long-standing blockade imposed on the Gaza strip.

The protest, dubbed by organisers "the freedom march", took place at the same time on both sides of the border. Palestinians and international activists were marching from Jebaliya in northern Gaza strip towards the Palestinian side of the crossing while Israeli activists were marching from a near-by junction to the Israeli side of the crossing.

Protestors on both sides were waving Palestinian flags and calling on the Israeli government to stop the blockade and on the international community to put more pressure on Israel on the issue.

The coastal territory has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006 when Hamas was democratically elected in a 2006 Palestinian parliament vote . Hamas then broke off with the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following months of conflict over power-sharing with the new government.

The group eventually took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, leaving Abbas' government in nominal control of the occupied West Bank only. Israel - with Egypt on one border - then tightened the blockade even further on the 1.5 million people living in the 135 square mile poor and narrow enclave of the Gaza Strip.

The blockade,
according to a United Nations report on Palestine refugees, has seriously affected all aspects of Palestinian life, and has prevented Gazans from reconstructing their shattered infrastructure after Israel's fierce three week offensive a year ago.

The offensive left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, including more than 900 civilians, amongst them scores of children, according to Palestinian officials and human rights groups. It also destroyed thousands of homes and heavily damaged Gaza's infrastructure. Israel claims the death toll was lower and that most of the dead were armed militants.

here's a report from CNN

and from Maan news agency
Mouad Khatib, 24, from Haifa, explains the message of an protest against the Gaza blockade at the Erez crossing on 31 December, 2009

Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog

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