Mohammad Ben Hussein
The Jordan Times
November 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hundreds of activists demonstrated in Amman on Wednesday to protest Israel’s blockade of Gaza, highlighting the worsening humanitarian conditions in the coastal enclave.

Carrying green flags representing the Islamist movement, Palestinian flags and banners, protesters marched from the Islamic Action Front (IAF) headquarters to the Parliament building calling for an end to the embargo.

“We want to send a message to the international community and Western governments who claim to stand for democracy and human rights. We tell them: Stop the hypocrisy towards our people in Palestine. This unjust blockade must stop now,” said Zaki Bani Rsheid, secretary general of the IAF, which organised the demonstration.

Yesterday’s march, which was given the green light by authorities after a request was made by the IAF, ended peacefully without incident.

The UN and other aid agencies have expressed concern that the worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza, home to some 750,000 aid-dependent Palestinians, could soon spiral into a humanitarian crisis.

Islamist leaders took the chance to announce the formation of a boat trip to Gaza in the coming days in a symbolic move to break the embargo on the city and to provide besieged Gazans with foodstuff and medicine.

UN food distribution to half of Gaza’s 1.5 million population came to a halt last Friday as Israel maintained a total lockdown of the enclave.

Despite requests from the EU and the UN, Israel continued a complete lockdown of the coastal strip, keeping cargo crossings, a main passageway for fuel and humanitarian aid, shut in response to rocket and mortar fire at Israeli border towns.

Israel has also held up fuel shipments to Gaza’s main power plant, leading to daily electrical blackouts for many of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the territory.

Gaza’s largest flour mill halted operations Wednesday, saying it had run out of wheat, while the UN said it has been forced to suspend cash grants to 98,000 of Gaza’s poorest citizens because of a shortage of Israeli currency, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.


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