Gaza - 21st century
Millions of Iranians have held rallies across the country in condemnation of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip against Palestinians. Demonstrators chanted "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" in the capital Tehran and carried banners, denouncing Israel's atrocities in the Gaza Strip run by the democratically-elected Palestinian government of Hamas. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also joined ralliers in Tehran on Friday. President Ahmadinejad, speaking with reporters, strongly condemned Israel's blockade of Gaza, saying Tel Aviv is increasing pressure on Palestinians to hinder their upcoming election. Incumbent Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas' four-year term expires on January 9. However, it is unclear when the elections will be held. A recent Israeli National Security Council assessment has urged Tel Aviv to hinder "elections in the Palestinian Authority, even at the cost of a confrontation with the US and the international community." At the end of Friday's rallies, a statement was issued in strong condemnation of international silence on Israel's siege of the region as well as the attacks in the West bank city of al-Khalil. The Gaza Strip is facing a humanitarian crisis as Israel has imposed an economic blockade on the coastal area, turning it to an 'open prison' and putting lives of almost 1.5 million residents at stake. The Islamic movement does not recognize Israel as a legitimate state.