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Thousands march in Gaza to oppose Israel and Zionism on 'al-Quds day'

June 23, 2017 4:48 P.M. (Updated: July 6, 2017 9:22 A.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip participated in a march held for “al-Quds Day,” or Jerusalem Day, celebrated on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to oppose Zionism and the state of Israel.

The annual event was first created by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinian struggle and its opposition to Zionism, and has since been commemorated by the Palestinian people.

Participants in Gaza City held Palestinian flags, the flags of their respective political factions, and signs calling for the protection of Jerusalem, amid Israel’s continued escalations in the territory aiming to solidify its Judaization and annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, a move never recognized by the international community.

Head of the Jerusalem committee in the legislative council Ahmad Abu Halabiya said that there would be “no security as long as the Israeli occupation continues in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” and stressed the Palestinian people's "right to resist Israel’s colonization until liberation is achieved.”

Abu Halabiya also called upon all Palestinian factions to support the “Jerusalem Intifada,” -- a phrase used by Palestinians for the wave of unrest that first erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015 -- and urged UNESCO to adopt more resolutions that confirm Palestinians’ rights in Jerusalem.

To Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem, Abu Halabiya said: “Stay determined and strong.”

Member of the politburo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Jamil Mizhir said that commemorating al-Quds Day came amid “very complicated circumstances,” explaining that “some Arab regimes” have begun to normalize relations with Israel in “direct and indirect ways,” referring to recent reports of Israel and Saudi Arabia establishing economic ties and opening the doors for state visits.

However, “Arab countries’ ties to Israel will not stay, and do not reflect the will of the people,” Mizhir said.

He also condemned recent attempts by the US and Israel to repaint the half-century Israeli occupation as a “sectarian conflict.” Both Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in recent days have placed blame on Gaza’s escalating crisis on an “intra-Palestinian” conflict.

"Make no mistake, Israel did not cause the problems in Gaza, even though it is often the usual suspect around here," Haley said at the time, referring to the ongoing electricity crisis in the coastal enclave, which has been drastically worsened since Israel approved a dramatic reduction in Israel’s electricity supply to the territory upon request of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory.

Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008. The UN has warned that unless current trends were altered, the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable for residents by 2020 due to Israel’s policies in the enclave.
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