The Federation of Public Transportation Sector (FPTS) in the Gaza Strip called on Wednesday for the UN and human rights organisations to put more pressure on the Israeli occupation to lift the strict siege of Gaza.
During a protest organised in front of the closed Karni commercial crossing, FPTS Secretary General Jamal Abu-Jarad requested "for the whole world, including the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, to recognise the suffering of the public transportation drivers."
He called for Israeli to lift its siege, for the PA to suspend collecting taxes on fuel passing into the Gaza Strip and for the world to do its duty in putting pressure on Israel.
Large numbers of taxi and truck drivers took part in the protest. They called for all sides to at least afford them the "most basic rights of life".
Suggesting other measures that could ease the siege, Abu-Jarad requested for Cairo to allow spare car parts and other equipment into the Strip. "This is what we expect that a neighbouring Arab state would do for us," he said. He also called for setting up a free-trade zone with Egypt instead of a buffer zone.
Abu-Jarad pointed out that thousands of workers in professions connected to the transportation sector have now lost their jobs, with losses already totalling $154 million.
Regarding the fuel needs for the Strip, he stated that Gaza consumes 400,000 litres of fuel on a daily basis. He reiterated the importance of Arab and Islamic states supporting the Palestinians in Gaza with the necessary resources to meet their minimum life needs.
In a move that has tightened the siege, the Israeli occupation authorities suspended the pumping of fuel into the Strip several days ago, which has resulted in long queues of cars at gas stations, causing a severe transportation crisis.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad