Arab Israelis declare general strike over ‘attacks’ on community

“The state must be able to feel the impact of this strike,” said former MK Mohammed Barakeh.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Arab Israeli organization declared a general strike on Tuesday over what they called “attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah and the al-Aqsa Mosque” and “attacks on the Arab public in general and mixed cities in particular.”

Led by former MK Mohammad Barakeh, the Arab High Follow-Up Committee has asked Arab citizens of Israel to refrain from work and demonstrate against discrimination in Israeli society, as well as Israeli actions in Gaza and Jerusalem.

“The state must be able to feel the impact of this strike,” Barakeh said in a statement, adding that Israel should free hundreds of Arab detainees who he said were wrongfully arrested during riots across the country in the last week.

“Fascist gangs” should be expelled from the cities in which rioting occurred, he said, and indictments should be filed against those who committed property or violent crimes.

“We want to send a clear message that we stand together in saying enough to the aggression on Gaza,” Essam Bakr, one of the organizers of the strike, told the New York Times.

“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.”

Hamas and Fatah both called for a “Day of Rage,” encouraging Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights to hold demonstrations and protest marches and also to strike.

Protesters in Judea and Samaria are expected to demonstrate near Israeli military checkpoints, which will likely spark clashes.

Because Arab citizens of Israel, Gazans, and Arabs in PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria all live under different governments, the strike aims to unite all these groups as a unified Palestinian front.

“In this strike, Palestinians are emerging unified, regardless of the colonial space that they are permitted to exist in,” political analyst Bilal Shweiki said in a statement.

“The idea of a unified strike constitutes a lever for joint Palestinian national action. It is also a declaration of rejection against all agreements that divide the land.”

On Tuesday morning, an Arab resident of Hebron opened fire on IDF troops using a submachine gun. He then tried to throw an explosive, which detonated in his hand. He was shot dead by IDF soldiers.