Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gaza protesters demand access to lands in no-go zone

Gaza – Ma'an – Hundreds joined the ongoing challenge to the Israeli-enforced no-go zone, limiting access to agricultural lands near the Gaza border, with protesters marching toward the area in the northern Strip on Tuesday.

Participant Sabir Za’anin said the crowd was the largest yet, noting the group decided to once again test the northern no-go zone, policed at 300-500 meters away from the border fence.

According to some estimates, the Israeli no-go zone that envelopes the Gaza Strip occupies some 20 percent of arable land in the coastal enclave.

During the protest, campaign coordinator Mahmoud Az-Zeq said the group marched directly toward the watch-tower at the Erez crossing and were only 80 meters away when warning shots were fired.

Az-Zeq told demonstrators that the Palestinian National struggle "must be activated in all its forms," and praised the non-violent demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank that challenged the continued Israeli-annexation of Palestinian lands.

The demonstrations, continuing almost daily since the beginning of March, will continue until Palestinians mark Land Day on 30 March.

An Israeli military spokeswoman denied that the protesters were fired on, despite entering the prohibited area.