World Communities Mark Gaza Siege Day

GAZA CITY – People in more than 30 countries from the four corners of the globe launched Saturday, February 23, the Global Day of Actions to protest the "inhumane" Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.

"Our message is clear, and it is to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and to motivate the Arab and Islamic and international community on the official and popular level," Head of the politically independent Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS) and independent MP Jamal Al-Khudari told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The solidarity actions kicked of in the fenced-off Gaza Strip with a half-day strike that saw the shutting down of all shops.

Gazans also launched a memorial for the siege victims at Al Katiba Square west of Gaza City.

Similar marches have been held in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Al-Khalil and Nablus.

The solidarity marches are also planned in more than 90 cities across the world.

In France, peaceful marches are planned at cities like Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes.

In the Netherlands, protesters will raise solidarity placards in front of the Dutch government building in the Hague.

In Italy, Palestinian flags and songs will steal the limelight in cities like Biella, Melano and Rome.

In the Greek capital Athens, protesters will converge at the central Metro Station to keep the Palestinian cause round and center.

In London, protesters will take their case to 10 Downing Street.

Similar marches are also scheduled in metropolitan cities like Geneva, Montreal, Istanbul, Cairo and Beirut.

The Gaza supporters worldwide will switch off their lights for 30 minutes Saturday after sundown in a show of solidarity with the Gazans, who have been almost living in darkness over the past month.

The PCAS said it will organize a full week of actions in more than 76 countries in support for the Palestinians.

Israel has sealed the Gaza Strip off after Hamas took control of the Strip after routing Fatah movement last June.

On January 17, Israel completely locked down the territory, causing the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant to shut down for lack of fuel.

It sporadically resumed shipments of food, medicine, and fuel five days later.

Many international human rights groups have accused Israel of pursuing a policy of collective punishment against Gaza’s 1.5 million residents.

Plea

The PCAS has also handed a plea to the UN undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes in Gaza to prompt the world body into action to end the ongoing sufferings of the Gaza residents.

"In Gaza Strip children, elderly men and women are being killed day by day. All people are suffering from the Israeli collective punishment," he said.

"Now, about 1.5 million are incarcerated and besieged in a big concentration camp called Gaza Strip."

After a tour in Gaza last week, Holmes said he was shocked by the "grim and miserable" humanitarian situation in Gaza.

"Now, in Gaza more than 1.5 thousand of seriously sick people exposed to the risk of death, because of inability to leave. More than 96 ill cases died by cold blood due to closure!" added the plea.

Gaza patients have been paying the silent cost of the Israeli closures of the Gaza crossings.

For the past eight months, Israeli authorities have been receiving a request after request from Israeli physicians and rights activists to grant many Gaza patients a permission to leave the Strip for treatment at Egyptian or even Israeli hospitals. Their pleas fell on deaf ears.

"We, people of Gaza, urge you due to your crucial position in the world to intervene to end the siege and to give the population in the Gaza Strip, hope of dignified life like the rest of the people around the world," concluded the plea.
 
(IslamOnline.net and agencies)

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