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Gazans demonstrate in Gaza City for May Day

ISM Gaza

1 May 2009

Thousands of Palestinians, mainly supporters of the 3 main Palestinian leftist parties (PFLP, DFLP, PPP) gathered in Gaza City for the Workers Day demonstration, which was celebrated this year on Thursday the 30th of April because of the holiday on Friday. Many children and young men participated, but almost no women. The supporters of the 3 different parties were marching all together, without forming separate blocks, giving a clear sign of unity of the left and of the Palestinians in general.

In the same day, two Palestinian civilians, workers in the tunnels in Rafah area, were killed in an accident when one of the tunnels collapsed.

Because of the siege imposed by Israel and Egypt, Palestinians are forced to dig tunnels in order to cross the borders to Egypt and bring the necessary food, fuel and other goods in Gaza Strip. Tens of workers have been killed in the tunnels by accidents, or Egyptian and Israeli attacks.
Work in the tunnels is one of the few job opportunities in Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce in Gaza the unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip have reached 65%, and that poverty rates are now 80%, due to the ongoing Israeli-led siege and repeated assaults. The number of unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is about 200,000.

Also, according to Ma’an news agency: “Israeli authorities announced tighter restrictions for Palestinians working in Israel on Labour Day Friday, including the possible revocation of permits if the holder returns to the West Bank after curfew. The restrictions come as Israel installs new computer systems at 13 military checkpoints between the West Bank, Israel and Jerusalem. Palestinians will no longer be able to enter Israeli controlled areas by points other than those outfitted with computers. According to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics 74,000 Palestinians work in Israel, about three-quarters of who are from the West Bank. The working permits of many West Bankers stipulate that its holder must leave Israel before six or eight oclock.

Under the new system limits and parameters of permits for many Palestinians will change, and for some who arrive at the checkpoints later than the time stamped on their permits, papers may revoked for a week or even permanently. Many permit holders expect the new system will limit further Palestinian access to the western side of the separation wall. Israeli authorities have been vague on details of the new systems, but have instructed all Palestinians with permits to enter Israeli-controlled areas to register in the new system. The controls are being overseen by Israeli General of the Central Command Ghadi Chamani and the head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, Yoav Mordechai.”