GAZA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian demonstrators held a symbolic funeral
for 60 late patients who died due to an Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip since
Carrying 60 empty coffins with the names of the deceased patients on it,
demonstrators walked through the Gaza streets to protest against Israeli siege
on Gaza during which the patients including children and youths lost their lives
for not being allowed to go outside for medical care.
Holding the photos of U.S. President George W. Bush, who is about to visit
Israel and the Palestinian West Bank on Wednesday, the demonstrators shouted
slogans against him. They described Bush as "tyrant" and blamed the Gaza siege
The rally was organized by the Popular Committee to Break Gaza Siege, a
body comprising independent human rights activists and lawmakers.
The Gaza Strip has been under strict siege since Israel shutdown all
crossings in the wake of Hamas violent takeover of the enclave.
Hamas routed security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
after days of infighting in mid June, which was defined by Abbas as a Gaza
Since the leash on Gaza was tightened, only vital medicine and food were
allowed enter the Strip while an unprecedented restrictions on the patients'
movement were also imposed.
Up to date, the number of the patients who died due to siege has reached 63
after a 50-year-old man passed away on Tuesday.
Jamal al-Khudari, director of the popular anti-siege committee, said the
closure also destroyed the economy in Gaza because the imported goods needed by
the Palestinians are stuck at the Israeli ports.
Most of factories in Gaza have been forced to stop production because the
raw materials can't reach the Gaza Strip.
"The siege indicates a dangerous disaster," al-Khudari said. He called for
an interference of an independent side in running the crossing points.
To illustrate the urgency of reopening the crossings, al-Khudari said that
the number of truck loads entering Gaza everyday has plummeted to 70 compared
with more than 800 before June.