On Sunday, tens of Palestinians and international peace activists gathered at a protest rally near Gaza City organised by the Popular Committee Against the Siege to demand that the Israeli authorities completely lift the trade embargo it has imposed on Gaza for nearing four years now. Protesters raised the Palestinian flag and waved banners and placards with slogans written in both Arabic and English demanding that all crossings be opened and all goods be allowed into the sector without exception.
At a news conference during the protest, the deputy head of the People's Committee, Mr Jamal Al Khodary said; "The continued closure of the crossings refute allegations by the occupation that the siege imposed on the sector is being eased." "Prior to the siege, 800 trucks loads of goods and commodities entered the crossings daily, however they now remain closed, despite Israeli propaganda which is trying to promote to the world that they have been opened and presence facilities improved."
Al Khodary stressed that information being disseminated by Israel in the world media with regard an easing of the siege was aimed at alleviating the international pressure it faces following its brutal massacre of the 'Freedom Flotilla' last month. Communications with the co-ordinating committee for the entry of goods into Gaza have confirmed an absence of improved facilities or the entry of construction material.
Al Khodary further stressed the absolute necessity of fully opening all of Gaza's crossings to allow the resumption of trade; the flow of all goods without exception, including raw materials needed to run factories, cement and construction materials. The opening of safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank, the free movement of individuals, and the opening of waterways under the supervision of Europeans is also a necessity.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad