General strike in Jerusalem in protest of Israeli demolitions

Middle East Monitor  /  January 31, 2023

Palestinians in towns in occupied Jerusalem began a strike and civil disobedience in protest of the “demolition massacre” committed by the Israeli occupation authorities.

The Israeli occupation authorities intensified demolitions in the occupied towns of Jerusalem, the latest of which was the demolition of a commercial facility and a retaining wall and the levelling of land in the town of Jabal al-Mukaber yesterday.

This week, the occupation forces began implementing a plan to demolish 14 homes in Jerusalem, according to a series of decisions made by the Israeli Cabinet.

In Jabal al-Mukaber, a general strike and closure took place in the streets, alleys and shops of the town, in protest against the occupation policy of demolishing the homes in the town. Dozens of young men closed the streets and poured oil on the roads to hinder occupation forces heading to demolish homes.

The Arabs of Sawahira and the youth movement in Jerusalem yesterday called for a general strike to begin today, stressing that they would confront the policy of demolishing homes in the town.

They are joining the towns of Shu’afat and Anata in occupied Jerusalem. A statement issued by the residents’ committee for civil disobedience called for not going to work and not going out into the street today in objection to the occupation’s decisions.

The official Israeli Broadcasting Authority, Kan, confirmed that “the joint campaign of the Jerusalem municipality and the police agency continues to demolish Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem.” This campaign was recently announced by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Kan stated that the Israeli military demolition crews are working to demolish several Palestinian homes across Jerusalem, including in Silwan, Al-Sawahira, Jabal al-Mukaber, Ras al-Amud and Beit Hanina.

The extremist Ben-Gvir confirmed that “this step is one of a series of steps to combat operations and strengthen governance in Israel.”

In turn, Haaretz newspaper confirmed in its editorial on Monday that the Israeli government’s action, which it claims are “deterrent measures” are nothing but punitive measures against those who are not accused of anything other than being related to those carrying out attacks.

It added: “When applying this rejected policy in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem, Israel risks acts that violate international law and commit war crimes.”

The newspaper pointed out that the punishment Israel seeks against the families of those who carried out the attacks include the demolition of homes, revoking social rights, including national insurance and expulsion.”

It warned that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is interested in advancing a draft law to withdraw insurance allowances from the families of those carrying out attacks and enacting a law to expel these families,” stressing that “Netanyahu’s government wants to harm those who are not suspected of anything without evidence or trial.”

The newspaper concluded that the Israeli policy of “deterrence” is a failure, because the circle of revenge and violence expands whenever collective punishment is used.