East Jerusalem Schoolchildren Join General Strike in Solidarity With Palestinian Prisoners

If students show up for school, they are sent home, says a member of the parents council

Families of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails demonstrate in front of the Red Cross offices in East Jerusalem, May 17, 2017.

Schools in East Jerusalem were shut down Monday as various Palestinian bodies stepped up shows of solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, taking advantage of the visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to increase the pressure.

Local government offices were closed and the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel also went on strike Monday. 

Palestinians go on national strike in solidarity with prisoners as Trump arrives to Israel Haaretz.com / YouTube

On Sunday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had announced on his Facebook page that schools in the city would operate as usual Monday, despite extensive traffic disruptions around the city due to Trump's visit. Schools opened as scheduled, but according to the East Jerusalem Parents Council, in that part of the city, most of the children did not arrive.

A Facebook post by the parents council, reported on the 0202 - A View from East Jerusalem Facebook page, says the children are striking in solidarity with the "freedom prisoners" – the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

"We are part of the [Palestinian] people and are taking part in the activity," said Adel Jazawi, a member of the council. "The schools are open and the teachers are there, but there are no pupils and if any arrive, they are sent home."

The general strike is being partially observed: schools are open but children aren't attending, and in Arab towns in Israel, like Umm al-Fahm, some stores remain open while others have shut their doors for the day.