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Palestinians protest Israel's war on local metal industry
and the practice of collective punishment
Wednesday, February 5, 2003


Palestinians protest Israel's war on local metal industry and the practice of collective punishment

Gaza City: In the last few weeks, Israel has intensified its military operations against Palestinian metal industry sector in the Gaza Strip. According to media sources, Israeli army, within a period of two weeks time only, supported by tanks and Apache helicopters, destroyed at least 90 metal shops in both Gaza City and Khan younis town in the south.

As tens of owners and hundreds of workers found themselves suddenly out of work and left with nothing but rubbles and broken machines, members of the Palestinian Metal Industry Union held a protest in front the Palestinian legislation council (parliament) last Saturday, February 1st. Owners and workers marched together in an attempt to voice their
anger and protest against what they call ・Israel's war on the Palestinian economy and the practice of collective punishment on the people of Palestine as a whole.

Some factory owners displayed big machines, which became out of order after the latest attack on Gaza of January 25th. A fifty Five years old factory owner who stood next to the truck that carried some of the remains of his machines, said,・ my factory specialized in repairing and making spare parts for the local mechanized bakeries in all of Gaza Strip. I know the big bakeries and its machines very well.

Another owner described his work as a factory specializing in making Gears. He boosted,・I used to make all kind of gears for the local market. We used to cover the needs of the local market and sometimes we even sold to Israel.

The bearded middle aged man complained,・Israel does not want to see Palestinian depending on home grown industry. He added,・they (Israelis) want to keep us relying on their imports even to the point of buying from them small nails
Many also expressed serious concern of Israel's latest action of preventing Palestinian industrialist from importing row material. According to a Union member, he said that the stored row material in the Gaza Strip could last for six month only.

In recent days, international media carries Israeli version of the story, particularly, when reporting military attacks on metal workshops in the Gaza strip. CNN and BBC, namely, voiced the same line of Sharon・ government view that such shops make missiles and bombs.

However, the protesters in Gaza described such claims as absolute lies by the government of Israel. In a message to the world, one protesters commented,・we are small factory owners for peaceful proposes. Israel knows that we do not have the row material suitable for making missiles. And they would never export such material to us anyway. All what they say is mere lies and false accusation.・


Reported by B. Samed
Gaza City,February 5th. 2003


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