Palestinians in occupied territories, Israel strike against 'Jewish nation-state law'

AFP , Monday 1 Oct 2018

Arab Palestinians in Israel protest against Jewish nation-state law in the northern Israel, Jatt Israel October 1, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

Palestinians in the occupied territories joined Arab-Palestinians inside Israel in a general strike Monday protesting Israel's controversial Jewish nation-state law and commemorating the deaths of 13 people killed in clashes with Israeli police in October 2000.

In the Arab-Palestinian community of Jatt in northern Israel, 1,500 participated in the central march in memory of the October 1 victims, killed in a series of clashes with police in 2000 during protests in support of the second Palestinian intifada.

Twelve Arab-Palestinians in Israel and a Palestinian in the occupied territories were killed by Israel in the clashes in October 2000.

Carrying pictures of the victims, Palestine flags and signs against Israel's nation-state law, the protesters marched along with members of parliament, including Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List.

"We're striking today to remind that this wound is still bleeding," Odeh said, pledging to continue to fight against the treatment of Arabs in Israel as "second-class citizens, and racist legislation."

In the occupied east Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, schools and many businesses were closed, AFP journalists reported.

Demonstrations were also held in Ramallah, where minor clashes erupted by a checkpoint on the West Bank city's outskirts.

Clashes were also reported in the tense southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Jerusalem's historic Old City, in the city's mainly Palestinian eastern sector, was especially quiet.

Ramallah resident Khaled Abu Ayoush said the strike was "against the policy pursued by Israel in order to erase Palestinian nationalism and the displacement of citizens from their land."

Mahmud Hamed however kept open his bakery outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

"We are a bakery," he said. "In wars, in strikes, people usually need a break."

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the strike also aimed to show solidarity with the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar, near Jerusalem.

Israel plans to demolish the Bedouin community, which it says was built illegally, despite international calls for a reprieve.

The nation-state law was passed in July and forms part of Israel's basic laws -- a de facto constitution.

It speaks of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jews and says they have a "unique" right to self-determination there.

Because it omits any reference to equality or the country's democratic nature, Arab-Palestinians in Israel say it will legalise discrimination.

Arabs account for some 17.5 percent of Israel's nearly nine million population.

Monday was also a holiday for Israeli Jews, marking the end of the week-long festival of Sukkot.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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