By Mohamed Majid
GAZA CITY, Palestine
For the 42nd consecutive Friday, thousands of Palestinian demonstrators converged on the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to take part in mass demonstrations against Israel’s decades-long occupation.
In a statement, Gaza’s National Authority for Breaking the Siege renewed its call to the people of Gaza to take part in the ongoing rallies, organizing Friday’s demonstration under the banner, “By our steadfastness the [Israeli] siege will be broken”.
In a separate statement, Abdul Latif al-Qanua, a spokesman for Hamas (which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007), said: "Our people will continue their peaceful marches until their ultimate objectives are met.”
Since the demonstrations began in March of last year, more than 250 Palestinians have been martyred -- and thousands more injured -- by Israeli troops deployed near the buffer zone.
Gazan protesters demand the right to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its more than two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.