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Activists protest Gaza blockade

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Arabs and pro-Palestinian activists from Israel and around the world protested Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

The protesters gathered Thursday on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing, on the Israel-Gaza border.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the deposed Palestinian prime minister, addressed the protesters via cell phone from Gaza. Israeli Arab lawmaker Talab El-Sana amplified the conversation with a speaker system, according to reports.

"We are proud of the Palestinian citizens of the 1948 territories who have come to identify with us," Haniyeh reportedly said. "We will surely meet at the al-Aksa Mosque and in Jerusalem, which will remain Arab and Islamic."

The march was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, an independent political organization that works to coordinate the political actions of various Israeli Arab bodies.

On the Gaza side of the crossing, 86 members of the Gaza Freedom March who entered the strip Wednesday evening were joined by a few hundred Palestinians, according to the news agency AFP. The other 1,200 or so activists from more than 40 countries remained in Cairo, where Egyptian authorities have prohibited them from entering Gaza through the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.
 

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