Gazans brace for more mass border demos at anniversary

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Palestinians react to tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Israeli-Gaza border fence, east of Gaza City March 29, 2019. (Reuters)
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Palestinian sit near to the Israeli-Gaza border fence, ahead of the first anniversary of border protests, east of Gaza City March 29, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 30 March 2019

Gazans brace for more mass border demos at anniversary

  • Protests have achieved ‘national cohesion, but Gaza’s liberation is still some way off’

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.


Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks to resolve disputes

Updated 22 September 2020

Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks to resolve disputes

  • Erdogan called for a regional conference that would gather all sides involved in the dispute — including Turkish Cypriots
  • The two neighboring NATO members have been locked in a tense standoff over energy exploitation rights

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey and Greece are ready to resume talks in a bid to overcome a dispute over maritime boundaries and rights to exploit oil and gas resources, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Tuesday.
The statement followed his video conference meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel.
During the meeting, Erdogan called for a regional conference that would gather all sides involved in the dispute — including Turkish Cypriots — and said the “momentum” for dialogue should be protected,” according to the statement.
The two neighboring NATO members have been locked in a tense standoff over energy exploitation rights in an area between Turkey’s southern coast, several Greek islands and the war-divided island of Cyprus. Turkey sent a research vessel into the disputed waters this summer.
Following mediation efforts by Germany and others, Turkey pulled back the research vessel to port and both countries eased their naval presence and halted military exercises, paving the way for a dialogue.
It was not clear when and how the talks would begin. Erdogan told Merkel and Michel that “steps to be taken by Greece” would determine the course of the talks.
Greek-Turkish talks to resolve disputes were last held in 2016.
The Turkish leader also said he hoped that the next European Union summit would breathe new life into Turkish-EU ties, including allowing Turkish citizens visa-free travel rights to Europe and sealing a new agreement on migration.
EU members Greece and Cyprus had been pushing for EU sanctions against Turkey at the Sept. 24-25 summit meeting to due Turkey’s search for energy inside Cyprus’ economic zone. But the summit has been postponed for a week because Michel has gone into quarantine after a close collaborator was diagnosed with COVID-19.