Gaza hosts first flowers, birds show despite blockade

14 April 2014

Xinhua, Gaza :
The fragrance of roses and birds' whistling were irresistible at the square of the Unknown Soldier in downtown Gaza city, despite a deteriorated economy in the Gaza Strip as a result of more than eight years of Israeli blockade.
The square has been a symbolic shrine for the Palestinians' struggle that witnessed rallies and demonstrations over the past four decades. It became an attraction on Thursday and Friday for the impoverished coastal enclave's population, who went for the Spring Fair of ornamental birds, fishes and flowers.
A large tent was erected at the center of the square for the annual three-day show which is jointly organized by the Hamas-run ministries of agriculture and the ministry of environment.
Various kinds of roses, flowers, little green trees and plants for homes and gardens filled the place, together with wood cages of colorful birds and glass basins filled with beautiful colorful fish.
"The fragrance of roses and the whistling of birds provided us with a sense of calm in an area that has been always famous for bloody wars and conflicts," said Gaza resident Hekmat el-Banna, who came with his wife and three children.
The organizers said that the event "is meant to help owners of birds and flower shops market their product amid difficult Israeli and Egyptian economic sanctions on the Islamic group that has been ruling the Palestinian enclave since July 2007."

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