By: Burak Bir for Anadolu Agency

The heart of the Palestinian cause is Jerusalem, and what is happening today in Gaza is for Jerusalem, a Palestinian expert said last week.

“If the heart of the Palestinian cause is Jerusalem, Palestine’s striking force is Gaza. That is why Israel is attacking Gaza,” Palestinian researcher Muin Naim speaking at an event on Israeli aggression and Gaza resistance, hosted and organized by Human and Civilization Movement in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping East Jerusalem, now occupied by Israel, might eventually serve as capital of a future Palestinian state.

Mentioning the humanitarian crisis in Gaza since the beginning of an embargo on the region, he said two million people have lived under siege for 12 years, that some houses that were destroyed in attacks in 2009, have not yet been rebuilt.

“Nearly 4,300 people including over 1,000 children were martyred. 80,000 Palestinians became homeless and 34,700 were injured, nearly 5,000 of them disabled,” he said, referring to results of Israeli aggression in Gaza in the last 10 years.

He contended that aggression of the “Israeli occupation regime” is not today’s issue, rather it began during and before its establishment.

Naim went on to say that Israel consisted of some groups that were seen as a “terror organization” by the international community at that time and “David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, who served as prime minister of Israel, were either leaders or members of these organizations.”

“Palestinians say that ‘we became a refugee in 1948 and in 1967, but we will no longer be refugee, rather we will be martyrs, veterans or victors’,” he added.

Israel’s protracted blockade of the Gaza Strip has shattered the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of free movement in and out from Gaza, preventing the entry of many basic amenities.

As of the end of 2016, 1.3 million Gazans were dependent on international aid to survive, while nearly half of the families in Gaza lacked access to secure food supplies, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Every year for the past eight, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition launched a new campaign to deliver humanitarian aid, in defiance of the Israeli blockade on the Palestinian seaside enclave.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara boat convoy in international waters, with an additional activist later succumbing to his injuries.

Photo: PNN
Edited for IMEMC: Ali Salam