The Follow-up Committee for Arab Affairs in Israel called for a Day of Rage and a general and comprehensive strike on Tuesday, in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza suffering from Israeli airstrikes and violence between Arabs and Jews across Israel.
This comes one week after Hamas started launching rockets at Israel – 3,100 and counting so far. Many Arab cities in Israel are being rocked by riots and violence, vandalism, arson and attacks on Jewish neighborhoods. One Jewish man died after being struck by a rock during a rampage in Lod.
The strike, which affected both Israeli and Palestinian sectors, was already being felt Tuesday morning. In several Israeli schools and workplaces, the absence of Arab employees – from aides to children with special needs to cooks at restaurants – was making an impact. Many Arab children did not go to school either.
However, the strike in Palestinian cities is accompanied by calls for confrontations with the Israeli army.
On Sunday, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement, issued a belligerent statement, in which it urged its members to rise up against Israel:
“You are the men of men so go forth to defend our people in revolt in our eternal capital Jerusalem and in the persistent Gaza and [West] Bank, Lod, Haifa, Yafa, and Nazareth and all of Palestine. This is your role, and this is your time. Do not let the herds of coward settlers and the occupation soldiers enjoy security and stability until the unjust aggression on our wounded Al-Aqsa, persistent Gaza, and our people in the Al-Jarrah.”
Fatah’s military wing links Israeli cities like Haifa, Jaffa and Nazareth as indistinguishable from what it refers to as “Palestine.”
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades openly urged local West Bank Arabs to engage in terrorism against Israelis for the strike: “Make their roads, settlements, and occupation camps a target for you and unbearable hell [for them]. Prevent them from passing and traveling. Make them stay in their shelters until the persistent Palestinian people enjoy security and stability in all of Palestine.”
Palestinians frequently call for strikes such as this during times of uprising and to create economic turmoil. For instance, most of the Old City shops will be closed and teachers will call in sick. The affected areas become completely paralyzed, more or less.
What sets apart this strike is its transformation into an opportunity for violence against Israelis and to damage any sense of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel as well as in Palestinian territories. Many extremists have called for harming Jews if the opportunity presents itself.