A somber gathering in Gaza City marked the day two years ago in which over 200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed within the first two hours of an Israeli invasion that lasted three weeks, and resulted in over 1400 total Palestinian deaths. 14 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed in the 3-week long invasion.Similar vigils and marches were held in cities around the world by human rights activists to remember those who were killed, and to call for justice and an end to the siege on Gaza that has deprived the Palestinian population of their livelihood and forced them into abject poverty.

Around 1,000 people gathered in the Ezbat Abed Rabu neighborhood, an area that was completely flattened by Israeli air strikes during the invasion two years ago, leaving dozens of remaining family members who survived the bombing homeless. They continue to live in tents two years later, as Israeli officials continue to refuse to allow building materials into Gaza.

Even donated building materials carried by ship and truck from Europe and other countries have been refused entry by Israeli officials, and were confiscated by the Israeli military and then sold in Israel, with no compensation to the donors.

During Monday’s memorial gathering, a member of the political wing of the Islamic Jihad party, Mohammed al-Hindi, spoke to the crowd about Israel’s increasing armaments at the border, which include dozens of new armored tanks provided by US tax dollars. Al-Hindi said the threat of a new invasion of Gaza is real and imminent, and said that Palestinian resistance fighters are prepared to fight in the case of such an invasion.

He said that recent threats issued by Israeli politicians “ are taken seriously by Palestinian resistance factions”, and that the fighters “are ready for sacrifice” to try to repel the threatened attack.

The Hamas party issued statements commemorating the two-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion, and planted 1,440 trees in northern Gaza – one for each Palestinian killed in the invasion.