Palestinians are holding a general strike to remember the martyrs of Nablus

A damaged house in the old city of Nablus
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A general strike has been called across Palestine, to remember the 11 people who were killed by Israeli forces in the city of Nablus yesterday. Among the dead are a 16-year-old boy and two elderly men. More than 100 people suffered gunshot wounds.

People from all over the West Bank are participating in the strike today. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes carried out strikes on the Gaza strip this morning, including on the al-Bureij refugee camp.

An ‘act of collective punishment’

The Canary spoke to Dr Ghassan Hamdan, the General Manager of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society in the Nablus area. Ghassan told us that the operation yesterday was an indiscriminate “act of collective punishment”. Israeli forces surrounded people while they were going about their daily business, deploying jeeps, Apache helicopters, and armed drones.

Ghassan told us that 56 people remain in hospitals in Nablus, and that four of them are in intensive care. He described how stretched health services are right now:

Our hospitals are not ready to have this number of injured people…. Yesterday when we had these attacks by the Israelis the hospitals had to stop their normal operations, and receive the people who had been shot. Sick people had to be transferred back to their homes, because the hospitals needed to receive the shot people.

The Israeli army repeatedly fired on medical personnel yesterday. Ghassan told us:

Yesterday Israeli forces shot the ambulances and [fired on] the medical personnel who were trying to help the injured people.

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We need international protection for our medical services.

Some medical personnel were under [fire from] tear gas so they couldn’t help people in the field. When we came to help the injured people they shot in the air, stopping us from doing our duty.

A massive escalation

Wednesday’s massacre is just the latest in a series of increasingly deadly raids on Palestinian cities. On 6 February, Israeli troops killed five Palestinians in Jericho’s Aqbat Jaber refugee camp. The attack on the camp followed a ten-day siege of the city.

On 26 January, an Israeli assault on a refugee camp in the city of Jenin killed nine people. Israeli soldiers attacked a hospital in the city. An elderly woman was among those murdered.

2022 was the most deadly year for Palestinians since the second Intifada (uprising) in the early 2000s. And Israel’s police, armed forces and colonists have already killed 61 people this year.

Israeli settlers have intensified their attacks on Palestinians. 144 such attacks were reported in one day in the Nablus area alone.

Electronic Intifada warned yesterday that:

According to some close observers, the new far-right government in Tel Aviv may be deliberately seeking a violent escalation to provide a pretext to implement its aims to formally annex West Bank land and further consolidate its colonial, apartheid rule.

General strike

A general strike is ongoing today across Palestine. People have closed their shops and businesses in mourning for the 11 people killed in Nablus. Schools in the West Bank and Gaza have announced that they will close for the day too.

Ghassan said that the strike is taking place “across the West Bank, Gaza in Ramallah – Hebron everywhere”. He told us:

the people are going now to funeral places where they can give support to the families and relatives [of those killed]. In Nablus we have a general place [of mourning] in Balata refugee camp and Al Askar refugee Camp – people are coming from all over the West Bank.

Everything is closed in Nablus – schools, factories, institutions – everything is closed now.

These strikes have been called because of the massacres.

Many such general strikes have taken place over the last months, in response to the occupation’s crimes.

International complicity

Ghassan said that international organisations should be doing more to protect Palestinians.

Where are the organisations protecting human rights? Why are they not protecting the Palestinian people?

Israel is not respecting conventions, or any international agreements.

Where is the United Nations, where are the human rights organisations, we are asking these institutions to protect the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, Palestinian organisation Samidoun released a call for action in response to the attack. They demanded active solidarity with the Palestinian anti-colonial movement:

This crime must impel all of us to act, to organize, to engage in direct actions, to isolate the occupier, to build our collective resistance and to support the Palestinian people and their revolutionary movement on the front lines of struggle for justice and liberation.

The war being waged against the Palestinian people is an existential one. Palestinians are warning that the Israeli state may be about to launch another massive offensive. It is up to us to act in solidarity. The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has set out how ordinary people everywhere can join the struggle for justice. You can find out more here.

Featured image is of a damaged house in the old city of Nablus, via Al Jazeera / Screenshot

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Get involved

This is what what the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is asking for people to do in response to the Israeli aggression:

Here are the 5 most effective things YOU can do to challenge this complicity and support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality:

  1. Work with progressive networks to pressure parliaments and governments to (a) end all military-security cooperation and trade (military funding in the US case) with apartheid Israel and similarly criminal regimes of oppression worldwide, (b) ban all goods/services of companies operating in Israel’s illegal colonial settlements; and (c) promote UN action to investigate and dismantle Israeli apartheid, as was done with the apartheid regime in South Africa.

  2. Mobilize institutional pressure campaigns (including boycotts or divestment) against Israeli and international companies and banks that are complicit in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. This includes all Israeli banks (Leumi, Hapoalim, etc.) and major multinationals such as: Elbit Systems, Google, Amazon, HP and HPE, CAT, JCB, Volvo, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Chevron, Siemens, CAF, G4S/AlliedUniversal, AXA, PUMA, Carrefour,, Airbnb, Sabra, Barclays, Expedia and more.

  3. Mobilize your community, trade union, association, church, social network, student government/union, city council, cultural center, or other organization to declare it an Apartheid Free Zone (AFZ), ending all relations with apartheid Israel and companies/institutions that are complicit in its system of oppression.

  4. Initiate/support boycotts of all academic, cultural, sports, and tourism engagements taking place in/sponsored by apartheid Israel or  its lobby groups and complicit institutions.

  5. Join a BDS campaign or a strategic Palestine solidarity group near you to act collectively and effectively.

Channel your anger and mobilize to dismantle apartheid and all forms of racism and oppression.

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