May 18, 2021
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel took part in an historic general strike Tuesday and were joined by the international community who staged solidarity demonstrations to denounce the latest attacks by the Israeli military which have killed at least 212 people, including 61 children, and wounded thousands more.
Palestinians across the region gathered in public spaces where they marched, listened to speeches, and chanted against Israeli apartheid.
Stores, offices, universities, and other establishments were shuttered.
In dozens of cities across the U.S. and around the world Tuesday, demonstrators gathered to express solidarity with the Palestinians amid the recent spate of violence and attempts by Israeli authorities to forcibly displace families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
In the U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace worked with local groups in cities nationwide to organize marches, rallies, and vigils.
\u201cSolidarity with the Palestinian general strike! \n\nCalls from Palestinians:\n1. Actions at Israeli consulate/embassy\n2. Vigils for Palestinians killed by Israel\n3. Public commitments to Palestinian liberation & BDS\n4. Sanctions on Israel\n\nVideo by @zaydl; music by @kngothx (on IG)\u201d— Azadeh Shahshahani (@Azadeh Shahshahani) 1621358521
In New York, protesters gathered at the Israeli Mission at the United Nations before marching to Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) home, the offices of AIPAC and Friends of the IDF, and Golda Meir Square, which the group symbolically renamed.
Other rallies and vigils took place or were planned for Tuesday evening in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, and other U.S. cities. Internationally, there were protests in Jakarta, Instanbul, Beirut, and elsewhere.
\u201cAll out DC. We\u2019re breaking a dam, lets keep pushing. #GazaUnderAttack #SaveSheikhJarrah #Haifa #Lydd #Palestinian #Freedom #Strike #IntifadaOfUnity\u201d— Noura Erakat (@Noura Erakat) 1621353770
\u201cEMERGENCY VIGIL\nPalestinians have issued a call for a general strike tomorrow, 5/18. Falastiniyat is holding a vigil to honor our martyrs tomorrow night at 7 pm. Bring candles & pictures of martyrs if you would like to share. All individual prayers & forms of grieving are welcome\u201d— End DX Seattle (@End DX Seattle) 1621283093
The Institute for Middle East Understanding reported that Palestinians who gathered in occupied Jerusalem were met with violence by police.
"It's the first time in decades that we see Palestinians across the political divide take part in such a general strike," Al Jazeera's Nida Ibrahim said, reporting from Ramallah. As the global grassroots coalition Progressive International tweeted, the last general strike held by Palestinians lasted for 174 days in 1936.
"Today, the people of Palestine are once again going on strike for their liberation--and calling on the world to join them. The time has come to end the Nakba," Progressive International tweeted, referring to the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948.
On the ground in the Middle East, Palestinians circulated a "Manifesto of Dignity and Hope" which called on participants in the general strike to write "a new chapter of courage and pride, in which we tell a story of justice and of truth that no level of Israeli oppression can erase."
\u201cThe Manifesto of Dignity and Hope is a document that has been circulating across Palestine today as Palestinians have mobilized for a powerful General Strike. Here is the English translation. Read and share widely. We will have freedom within our lifetime. \n\n#PalestineOnStrike\u201d— #EndTheSiegeOnGaza (@#EndTheSiegeOnGaza) 1621347578
"The truth is that Palestinians are one people, one society. Zionist gangs forced out most of our people, [they] stole our homes and destroyed our villages... They tried to turn us into different societies, each living apart, each in its own separate prison," the manifesto reads. "It is now time for this tragedy to end."
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