A general strike backed by the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arab leaders to protest against Israel’s air campaign in Gaza and its actions elsewhere is under way in the occupied West Bank and Arab neighbourhoods of Israel, with public services and businesses shut.
“We want to send a clear message that we stand together in saying enough to the aggression on Gaza,” said Essam Bakr, one of the organisers, told the New York Times on Monday
. “But we are also saying enough to the attacks on the al-Aqsa mosque, enough to the occupation and settlement building and enough to the unjust treatment of Palestinians.”
Demonstrations are also taking place as part of a “day of rage” called by Hamas and the rival Fatah movement, which is led by West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The fighting in Gaza began after weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tension in occupied East Jerusalem that culminated in clashes on the al-Aqsa mosque compound, a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Hamas began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes.
There has also been communal violence in Israeli cities and towns with mixed Jewish-Arab populations.