Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah called on people across the Arab and Muslim world to help lift the Israeli blockade against the Gaza Strip. He has also appealed to Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing permanently. Speaking in a televised speech broadcast on the Hizbullah owned Al-Manar TV, Nasrallah said it was a humanitarian and religious duty to help the 1.5 million besieged Palestinians in Gaza. He called for a mass rally in Hizbullah's stronghold of Beirut's southern suburbs on Friday and urged Lebanese and other Arabs to hold demonstrations and sit-ins. Immediately after the speech, Al Manar reported that it would publish a schedule for the rallies Hizbullah will be sponsoring. Attempting to brand himself as a pan-Arab leader, Nasrallah addressed the Egyptians, saying "abiding by the checkpoint agreements [Egypt and Israel share] has no moral, ethical or religious foundation if it brings about a great Islamic humanitarian crisis and causes war. I call on Egypt's officials - this is not the time for bargaining. We face a painful reality. There are hundreds of sick people and starving families in Gaza. You must take a stand during these historic times."