Palestine goes on general strike, in a historic moment of unity

Palestinians on general strike in Ramallah

Palestinians united on 18 May for a general strike against the brutal bombing of Gaza and the ongoing Israeli occupation. This was reportedly the “first time in decades” there’s been such a large strike among Palestinians.

A context of extreme occupier violence

Since 10 May, Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 61 children in the blockaded territory of Gaza.

Israeli forces have killed around 213 Gazans in total, so far. They’ve also bombed civilian buildings, with Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calling their actions “war crimes”. The UN says Israeli attacks have already displaced over 58,000 people in Gaza. Most of these are currently sheltering in UN-run schools. Gaza’s response to the assault, meanwhile, has killed 12 people in Israel, including two children. At the same time, Israeli state repression is ongoing in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem too, with Israeli authorities having injured around 5,000 people and killed 20.

Israel’s latest attack on Gaza came after weeks of violent state repression of protests in Jerusalem. It also came as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggled to stay in power during an ongoing corruption trial. Commentators expect the current violence to increase his popularity.

Massive general strike shows growing unity in Palestine 

One Palestinian journalist called the strike a “historical event”. And people sharing images from the strike have said there seems to be increasing unity among Palestinians:

Salem Barahmeh from the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, meanwhile, told Al Jazeera:

It is important to rise as one and try to transcend the forced fragmentation imposed on Palestinians by Israel

Palestinians have reportedly been “reclaiming public spaces with art and music” in Israel, too:

There have also been protests in Israel and occupied Jerusalem:

Israeli forces have reportedly been firing at protesters in both the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem:

Main article image via screenshot