Despite risk, Gazans maintain rallies near Israel fence

Hundreds of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip have converged on the Gaza-Israel security fence — for the ninth consecutive Friday — to take part in ongoing rallies against the Israeli occupation.

On Thursday, Palestinian political factions and activists called on the people of Gaza to take part in the rallies despite the threat of violence by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the security fence.

“We also urge Palestinians in the [occupied] West Bank and Jerusalem to rise up against the Israeli occupation,” protest organizers said in a statement.

Since 30 March, Palestinians have been staging mass rallies along the security fence to demand the “right of return” to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

Protesters also demand an end to Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza — by air, land and sea — which has remained in effect since 2007 and which has brought the strip to the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.

Since the rallies began, at least 116 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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