Iranian Businesses Close in Support of Gaza

TEHRAN (FNA)- Trade at Iranian bazaars was brought to a halt as merchants protest over recent Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

On Monday morning, merchants closed their shops in the capital Tehran, and other big cities across the country to express their support for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar is the largest market of its kind in the world. Although its importance has diminished in recent years, it remains an important economic force in the country.

Trade guilds organized demonstrations at mosques and sit-ins where merchants chanted slogans against Israel and called for the blockade in Gaza to be lifted, press tv reported.

Israel placed the Palestinians – the indigenous population of the land – residing in the Gaza Strip under a blockade after the democratically-elected Palestinian government of Hamas took control of the coastal area in mid-June 2007.

The Israeli siege has inflicted a humanitarian crisis in the already impoverished Strip, turning it into an ‘open prison’ and putting the lives of its nearly 1.5 million residents at stake.

Iranian protestors attend an anti-Israel rally to commemorate the Al-Quds Day in Tehran on September 26, 2008. Iran has refused to recognize Israel.
The UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday declared Israeli policies against the Palestinians and the blockade of the Gaza Strip to be “crime(s) against humanity.”

In response to the UN declaration, Israeli ambassador in Geneva Aharon Leshno Yaar said Tel Aviv “remains committed to reinforcing areas in which we are succeeding and bettering those areas that need improvement.”

According to UN human rights rapporteur Richard Falk, however, Tel Aviv was responding to what he described as low-level criticism by “normally cautious UN officials”. Falk suggested Israeli crimes to be worthy of an International Criminal Court investigation.

Despite its objection, Israel was forced to permit deliveries of humanitarian aid and gas to Gaza on Tuesday after days of full closure of all Gaza crossings.

Human rights advocates from around the world have also condemned the international community for keeping silent over the Israeli crimes and have called for an end to atrocities committed against people in the coastal region.

The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) also denounced the European Union (EU) on Saturday over its recent decision to upgrade the bloc’s relations with Israel, saying it will hinder the stalled peace process.

The EU move will encourage Israel to maintain its practices in its conflicts with Arabs and will “hinder the peace process,” the AL General Secretariat said in a statement.

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