'Morally, I Cannot Continue': Israeli Arab Community Calls for General Strike in Wake of Gaza Bloodshed

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Palestinian woman waves national flag during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Palestinian woman waves national flag during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Tuesday, May 15, 2018Credit: Adel Hana/AP

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arab community has declared a general strike for Wednesday in protest at the killings of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border with Israel. The strike is due to include public schools in Arab communities.

>> A predictable bloodbath in Gaza: Israel did not lift a finger to prevent lethal clashes || Analysis >>

Two Gazans were reportedly killed on Tuesday following 60 deaths on Monday in clashes with Israeli security forces. Thousands of Palestinians have been injured in the recent clashes by live weapons fire, rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation.

An Arab Knesset member from the opposition Zionist Union faction, Zouheir Bahloul, announced that he will be joining the strike. “Morally, I cannot continue with regular routine,” he said. “The Netanyahu government, which has been neglecting the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip for years, is doing nothing to calm the bloody confrontation in the strip. I again call for the establishment of an investigative committee on open-fire orders at civilian demonstrators.”

>> Why the West Bank is so quiet when blood is flowing in Gaza || Opinion >>

The head of the predominantly Arab Joint List Knesset faction, Ayman Odeh, who participated in a demonstration on Tuesday organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, said: “The Arab population, together with Jewish forces, are fighting against the slaughter in Gaza. We call for a peace agreement based on the 1967 lines.”

At the same demonstration, Joint List Knesset member Yousef Jabareen said: “It is our right and even our duty to express identification with our people [the Palestinians], whom the army has been slaughtering for the past several weeks on the Gaza border. I condemn the provocation of the police forces and the special forces who came with weapons and ammunition despite the fact that it involved a democratic and non-violent demonstration.”

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On Tuesday, protest gatherings were held in the Israeli Arab communities of Majdal Krum, Umm al-Fahm and Rahat. Additional demonstrations were held in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. In Haifa five people were arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace.

In the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a one-day general strike to mark Nakba Day, commemorating what Palestinians view as the catastrophe that they suffered during the Israeli War of Independence. Abbas also declared three days of mourning over the killing of the Palestinians on the Gaza border.

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