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(21 Feb 2009) SHOTLIST
1. Wide of protest march calling for national unity between rival Palestinian factions, protesters marching waving Palestinian flags and red Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) flags
2. Man chanting slogans over loudspeaker calling for national dialogue and unity
3. Back shot of march
4. Pan from protesters leaning against gate at Rafah border crossing to Palestinian guards behind gate
5. Women chanting slogans calling for national unity
6. Close of sign reading: (Arabic) “Yes to a comprehensive Palestinian national dialogue and the formation of a national unity government”
7. Protesters with flags at closed gate at Rafah crossing
8. Wide of protesters behind closed gate, Palestinian security forces on other side of gate
9. Protestors standing behind closed gate
10. Protesters holding Palestinian and DFLP flags behind barbed-wire fence
11. DFLP leader, Talal Abu-Zarifa, at protest
12. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Talal Abu-Zarifa, Leader of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP):
“With Palestinian national unity, we can push the entire world to pressure Israel into complying with international laws and demands, placing the ball in Israel’s court. Especially now in light of the rise of this extremist right-wing government, unity is the best solution to facing these challenges.”
13. Wide of protest march
Approximately one thousand Palestinians marched through the town of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on Saturday calling for national dialogue between rival Palestinian factions and the formation of a national unity government.
Protesters marched towards the closed Rafah border crossing between southern Gaza and Egypt, as they also called for the reopening of the border crossings and the lifting of the Israeli imposed blockade on Gaza.
The march organised by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was intended to urge rival Palestinian faction, mainly Fatah and Hamas to put aside their differences and form a Palestinian national unity government.
“With Palestinian national unity, we can push the entire world to pressure Israel into complying with international laws and demands, placing the ball in Israel’s court. Especially now in light of the rise of this extremists right-wing government, unity is the best solution to facing these challenges,” said DFLP leader, Talal Abu-Zarifa.
Hamas, who were overwhelmingly democratically elected in a 2006 Palestinian parliament vote, broke off with the Fatah majority government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after the president said he would call early elections following months of conflict over power-sharing with the new government, and subsequently assumed complete control of the government from Ramallah, isolating Hamas.
The group also faced a major setback when the United States and the European Union – the Palestinians’ two largest donors – announced they were cutting off hundreds of (m) millions of dollars in aid because of the Hamas-led government’s views and practices towards Israel.
Hamas eventually took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007, leaving Abbas’ government in nominal control of the Occupied West Bank only.
As a result, Israel has imposed a strict blockade of the Strip, plunging the already impoverished Gazan population of 1.4 (m) million into what the United Nations has repeatedly described as a serious humanitarian crisis.
Israel announced on Wednesday that it will not lift the blockade – a key Hamas demand for a lasting ceasefire with Israel – until Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit is freed from captivity by Gaza militants.
A Palestinian reconciliation conference initially scheduled for next week in Cairo has been recently postponed.
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