GAZA CITY: Protests are to take place across Gaza City on the anniversary of last year’s series of demonstrations against Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The protests began on March 30, last year, when Palestinians voiced their frustration at the siege imposed on their region 13 years ago, and at the refusal of Israeli authorities to allow refugees to return to the towns and villages displaced during the 1948 Nakba.
A member of the political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Talal Abu Zarifa, said the previous demonstrations had gained international attention through “peaceful popular resistance,” and had helped rehabilitate the Palestinian cause on the international scene.
He added that regular marches and protests would not stop until the siege was lifted.
Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasim agreed with Zarifa, stating that the protests had achieved “national cohesion,” but acknowledged that the liberation of Gaza was still some way off.
He added, though, that continued participation in the marches would send a strong message to Israel and the international community that the Palestinians would not give up on their cause.
Writer and political analyst Hossam Al-Dajni said that the most important achievement of the protests was that they had “eroded” Israel’s image as a sympathetic, restrained force, revealing an “uglier” face to the world.
“For years, Israel has been working to connect the Palestinian struggle with terrorism, but during the peaceful marches in Gaza, in which the Palestinians resisted, it committed war crimes in front of the eyes of the world,” he told Arab News.
Meanwhile, protestor Ahmed Al-Burdini, who was disabled after being shot in the leg by an Israeli bullet, said he had not missed a protest in months despite his injury.
“I lost my job because of my disability, and there is now no source of income for our family,” he said, claiming he’d been drawn to demonstrate due to the poor living conditions imposed on Gaza by the blockade.
The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on March 22, condemning Israel and the Israeli Defense Force for war crimes against the demonstrators.