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Palestinians demand right to natural gas field off Gaza Strip

Palestinians hold protest demanding the granting of natural gas rights in the Mediterranean off the Gaza and the construction of a sea route that will connect the outside world at Gaza Port in Gaza on September 13, 2022 [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency
Palestinians hold protest demanding the granting of natural gas rights in the Mediterranean off the Gaza and the construction of a sea route that will connect the outside world at Gaza Port in Gaza on September 13, 2022 [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip organised a protest on Tuesday to demand their rights to the natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the besieged territory, as well as the establishment of a sea passage to connect them with the outside world, Anadolu has reported. The protest was organised by Palestinian factions in the coastal enclave where more than two million Palestinians suffer from deteriorating living and economic conditions as a result of the continuous Israeli blockade imposed since 2006.

A symbolic foundation stone was laid for the "waterway" which they dream of establishing to achieve their right to free movement and travel. The organisers also inaugurated a mural bearing the inscription "Our Gas Is Our Right" in Arabic and English. Small Palestinian boats set out to sea accompanied by a Shehab drone belonging to the armed wing of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement.

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"We tell the [Israeli] enemy that we will not give up our right to our natural resources, especially the gas in the Gaza sea and the waterway that connects the Strip to the world," said Suhail Al-Hindi, a member of the Hamas political bureau, on behalf of the factions. "The enemy should read our messages. The resistance will defend the people, their sanctities and their capabilities."

He laid stress on the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza under "very difficult economic and living conditions" due to the continuation of the siege. "Dozens of Palestinian families live without a source of income that helps them to lead a decent life."

Al-Hindi called on the international community and mediators to put an end to Israeli violations that threaten stability in the region and rob the Palestinians of their rights to gas and the waterway. Continued international silence, he warned, "could lead to an explosion." International human rights institutions, he added, should assume their duties and put pressure the Israeli occupation to lift the siege on Gaza and confirm the Palestinians' right to exploit their own natural resources, including gas.

Two gas fields were discovered in in 1999 and 2000 in the Mediterranean off the shore of Gaza. Israel has prevented the Palestinians from exploiting and benefiting from the gas reserves. The first field was called Gaza Marine and is located entirely within Palestinian territorial waters. The second field was named Marine 2, and is located within the maritime border area between Gaza and Israel.

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