Palestinians and supporters worldwide took part in a global “strike for Gaza” on Monday to demand an end to the Israeli bombardment of the besieged enclave.
The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces, a coalition of Palestinian factions, had called for workers in the occupied West Bank and across the world to observe a general strike in solidarity with Gaza that would impact “all aspects of life”.
The coalition said in a statement that they expected “the entire globe” to respond to the call.
“This movement stands against the open genocide in Gaza, the ethnic cleansing and the colonial settlement of the West Bank,” they said.
“The strike also opposes attempts to undermine the just national cause of the Palestinian people,” they added.
The announcement came after Friday’s veto by the United States of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.
Campaign groups and influencers circulated the #StrikeForGaza hashtag on X, formerly Twitter, urging supporters globally to stay at home, discourage children from going to school and abstain from financial transactions.
Videos and photos shared on X revealed deserted high streets, shuttered shops and empty public transport in the occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey where the strike is being widely observed.
Many individuals also took part across Mauritania, Qatar, Iraq, Morocco and Tunisia.
“Everyone is observing [the strike] here,” Abu Wadee, a Jerusalem resident, told Middle East Eye.
“This is to say we don’t want wars. This war must stop. All the Arab and European people must end it. This is the least we can do.”
Another Jerusalem resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told MEE that the calls were a direct rejection of the US vetoing the UNSC resolution on Friday.
The world ‘must pay attention’
The International Union of Muslim Scholars issued a statement urging institutions, political movements and influential figures globally to observe the strike, highlighting the UNSC’s failure to stop the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.
In Lebanon, the secretary-general of Lebanon’s Council of Ministers, Mahmoud Mekkiya announced a nationwide strike on Sunday, saying that all government offices and institutions would be closed.
In Jordan, preparations for the strike began on Sunday evening, with shop owners hanging signs outside their businesses announcing Monday’s closures and their reasons for participating in the strike.
The strike is being widely observed by workers from different sectors across all Jordanian cities, with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa) closing all its facilities, including its schools, and urging employees and students to stay at home.
“We went on strike on Monday in solidarity with Gaza against the massacres committed by Israel. We also want to send a message to the world: [enough] silence over Israel’s crimes,” Ayman, the owner of a furniture store in downtown Amman, told MEE.
“I did not send my children, Taimullah, 11, and Hiyam, 7, to school… to participate in the strike,” Ruba Johar, a mother of two, said.
“The strike conveys a message to the people of the world that they must pay attention to the massacres that are occurring in the Gaza Strip,” lawyer and political activist Dr Haitham Arifaj told MEE.
“People are able to… influence their governments. The will of the people is able to change.”
Individuals and groups from across Europe, the US and Australia have also posted on X that they are observing the strike, with protests planned to take place in New York.
In just over two months, the Israeli bombardment has killed nearly 18,000 Palestinians in Gaza, the majority of whom are children and women. Thousands more are missing and presumed trapped dead under rubble, while tens of thousands have been wounded.
Disclaimer: Israel-Palestine war: Shops shutter across Muslim-majority world as part of global 'strike for Gaza' - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view