Palestinians mounted coordinate resistance against Israel in all parts of Palestine on Tuesday with a major strike and mass demonstrations.
Workers shook some industries inside Israel’s official borders, while tens of thousands of people marched and fought with soldiers in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The resistance was a response to a call by Palestinian organisations for a general strike. Significantly, the call came from organisations inside Israel, and was joined by those in the West Bank.
It was a significant step in the revolt that has swept all of Palestine since last week—and a sign that the resistance is becoming more coordinated and organised.
Thousands of Palestinian workers behind Israel’s borders stayed home for work, or kept shops closed.
Castro Othman, who lives in the Palestinian town Tamla inside Israel, said the strike was “the first time we’re seeing almost everyone participate in the strike. We’ve tried it before, but we’ve never seen this result.”
“We feel like we’re in an existential struggle,” he said.
Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported that public transport was disrupted throughout Israel. It also says Israel’s health ministry reported 1,500 medical workers were absent from work, though it claims most medical workers didn’t take part.
Israeli bosses at the Ramblam Healthcare Campus, in the city of Haifa, had threatened its workers against striking. In a letter to workers, hospital boss Michael Halberthal said, “I will not allow rallies and actions connected to any elements from the Israeli political spectrum.
“Staff members are forbidden from participating in these strikes and rallies.”
One Palestinian health worker said in response, “It is a pity that they do not understand our pain. We are not terrorists. All we wanted was to express our opinion legally.”
Israel’s education ministry asked principles for a list of teachers who took part in the strike. One Palestinian teacher said, “They just want to thwart the strike. I personally did not go to school and they are welcome to do whatever they want.
“There is no way we can see everything that is happening and just sit quietly.”
Meanwhile, Palestinians in the West Bank, which Israel keeps under military occupation, also stayed off work and protested with the backing of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
There were protests in every part of the West Bank, fighting bravely against attacks by Israeli soldiers.
Thousands protested in the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem, and marched on military checkpoints close to Israeli settlements.
Soldiers shot live ammunition at the protest near the Israeli settlement Beit el Yeshiva, near Ramallah, killing two Palestinians. They also killed a third protester in the Palestinian village Bil’in, 16 year old Islam Fahmi, by shooting him in the head.
The PA said Israeli soldiers injured as many as 70 Palestinian protesters in total, some with live ammunition, as well as rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.
But Palestinians fought back with rocks and roadblocks of burning tires.
For decades, Israel has tried to divide Palestinians between borders in order to undermine resistance and mask its system of apartheid against them all. But the day showed Palestinians everywhere know they all face the same oppression—and are fighting back together.
Mudar Younes, Palestinian mayor of Wadi Ara inside Israel, said this was the first time he knew of that a strike began inside Israel and spread to the West Bank. He added that it showed Palestinian resistance was back on the agenda.
“With everything that happened—in Sheikh Jarrah, Jaffa, Damascus Gate, the Al-Aqsa Mosque — the stagnation ended,” he said.
“People said ‘the Palestinian cause, won’t happen, won’t go anywhere.’ That’s over now."