By Mohamed Majid
GAZA CITY, Palestine
For the 43rd consecutive Friday, Palestinians converged along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to take part in ongoing demonstrations against Israel’s decades-long occupation.
Gaza’s National Authority for Breaking the Siege has urged Gazans to take part in the rallies, holding Friday’s demonstration under the banner, "Unity is the key to victory”.
Hazem Qasim, a spokesman for Hamas (which has governed Gaza since 2007), said the ongoing protests “confirm our people’s commitment to the path of struggle until our objectives are met”.
Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees 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 roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
Since the rallies began in March of last year, more than 250 Palestinians have been killed -- and thousands more injured -- by Israeli troops deployed near the buffer zone.