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Palestinians launch general strike to protest Israel's 'racist' Jewish nation state law Open in fullscreen

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Palestinians launch general strike to protest Israel's 'racist' Jewish nation state law

Schools, universities, government offices and private businesses were closed as part of the strike. [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 October, 2018

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In Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, schools, universities, government offices and many private businesses were closed as part of the strike.

Palestinians launched a general strike on Monday to protest Israel's controversial Jewish nation-state law while also commemorating the deaths of 13 people killed in clashes with police in October 2000.

In Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, schools, universities, government offices and many private businesses were closed.

Public transportation also wasn't available.

Demonstrations were planned later in the day in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah as well as in the Palestinian community of Jatt in northern Israel.

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

Read more: Enshrining apartheid: Israel's fig leaf democracy officially dies

"The strike is a message to the world that the cause of apartheid and racism is something that should not only be dealt with internally but it should be talked about globally," Mohammed Barakeh, a former Palestinian lawmaker in Israel’s Knesset and head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, told Reuters.

On 1 October, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the occupied territories commemorate the deaths of those killed in a series of clashes with police in 2000 during protests in support of the second Palestinian intifada.

Thirteen Palestinians were killed in the clashes in October 2000.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the general strike was also against Israel's Jewish nation-state law and to show solidarity with the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar. 

Israel plans to demolish the Bedouin village, which it says was built illegally, despite international calls for it not to do so.

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

It makes no mention of equality or democracy, implying that Israel's Jewish nature takes precedence - something for which Israel's far-right religious nationalist politicians have long advocated despite it creating a de-facto apartheid.

It also makes Hebrew the sole official language, downgrading Arabic to 'special' status only.

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

Monday was also a holiday for Israelis marking the end of the weeklong festival of Sukkot.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and their supporters chanted against "apartheid" and for "equality" last month in central Tel Aviv at a rally protesting the nation state law.

An earlier rally protesting the law by Israel's Druze community and their supporters drew an estimated 50,000 people.

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