Palestinians, Arab Israelis strike to protest Israel’s nation-state law

Palestinians throughout the occupied territories went on strike Monday, which emptied businesses and streets in protest of the Israeli state.

A Palestinian woman walks past closed shops during a general strike Monday against Israel's Nation State Law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
A Palestinian woman walks past closed shops during a general strike Monday against Israel’s Nation State Law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Factories, shops, schools and offices were vacant as Palestinians and Arab Israelis from all political factions joined together.
The strike is a protest of the controversial new nation-state law, which Arab Israelis say makes them second-class citizens. The Israeli Parliament passed the law in July.

Protesters also oppose the Trump administration’s moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and the U.S. decision last month to cut aid to East Jerusalem.

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From the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the strike Monday was an unprecedented show of unity and force that hasn’t been seen since Israel was created in 1948.

“We declare that we are all united in our refusal to finalize our Palestinian case through the nation-state law or through the ‘deal of the century,'” said Jamal Zahalka, head of the Balad National Democratic Party.

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The strike also marks the 18th anniversary of the riot where 13 Israeli Arabs were killed in confrontations with Israeli police. That protest in October 2000 occurred at the start of the Second Intifada.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the nation-state law a “defining moment in the annals of Zionism.”

Arab lawmakers ripped up the bill after the vote, saying they wanted to “protest the negative impact of the new racist law on the life, history, culture and traditions as well as existence of several million Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris