Umm al-Fahm turns out lights, Israelis rally against Gaza siege
Lights out for one hour in Israeli Arab town; more than 1,000 protest blockade on Israeli side of Gaza border.
The Israeli-Arab town of Umm al-Fahm shut off its electricity for one hour on Saturday night in an intentional blackout, and a torch-lit march was held in solidarity with the residents of the Gaza Strip to protest an Israeli blockade of goods entering the coastal territory.
Earlier, more than 1,000 people in Israel demonstrated the sanctions on the Erez Crossing on the Gaza border. The demonstration was coordinated with the police, and organized by both Jewish and Arab groups, including Ta'ayush, the Coalition of Women for Peace, Gush Shalom, and the Balad and Hadash political parties. The protest was dubbed a "relief convoy" aimed to transfer food, blankets and other basic needs to Gaza.
Regarding the situation on the Gaza-Egypt border, which remains open after militants blew up the border fence last week, Leftist activist and former MK Uri Avneri told the rally that "three days ago, a wall here fell, like the Berlin Wall, like the separation wall and like all the walls and fences in this country will."
"As Israelis, we came to transfer crucial supplies and to say - we are not partner to this crime, we are shamed of this siege. Our hearts are with our Palestinian brothers who are demonstrating on the other side. Our hearts are also with our brothers residing in Sderot. The Qassam threat must stop, but it won't stop through 'an eye for an eye,' but rather when we talk to Hamas," Avneri continued.
A demonstrator at a parallel rally on the Gaza side of the border fence, speaking to the Israeli protest through a cellular phone held to a loudspeaker, said that "together we must create a partnership and chase after peace in Gaza, Ramallah, Israel and Sderot... I feel honored to speak with you. Every drop of blood that spills in Israel or in Palestine is a blow to our humanity. Please send this message to the all of the people in Israel."