The Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line held a general strike yesterday, Tuesday, May 18, to protest the ongoing Israeli onslaught on Gaza, forced expulsions from Jerusalem, and settler mob violence. The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel said in a statement that it had taken a decision to include all economic sectors in the strike.Businesses, schools, universities and offices in the occupied territories were close as Fatah Central Committee and other Palestinian fractions called on people to take part in the strike in protest of the Israeli aggression against Gaza, which has killed more than 200 Palestinians, including 59 children and 35 women, and wounded some 1,300 others, as well as against the nearly 54-year long Israeli military occupation, and settler and vigilante mob violence.
The committee issued a statement backing the strike and calling the world to confront the Israeli occupation authorities’ attempts to “ignite a religious conflict” through forced expulsions in Jerusalem, while stressing that there would be “neither security, nor peace, nor stability without having East Jerusalem as the capital of the independent Palestinian state”.
The Lawyers Syndicate, the General Union of Teachers, and the Higher Committee of the Public Transportation, among other public unions and syndicates, issued calls backing the strike. Palestinians in the occupied territories, throughout Israel and worldwide took part in peaceful protests in condemnation of the Israeli aggression.
In the occupied territories, Palestinians have long used general strikes as a tool to express their rejection of Israeli practices. A general strike took place during the first Intifada of 1987-1993, when Palestinians responded to Israeli attacks by paralyzing the economy and refusing to deal with the Israeli authorities responsible for affairs in the West Bank and Gaza, prior to the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA).