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Arab-Israeli sector strike across Israel, Fatah calls for ‘Day of Rage’

CM 18/05/2021

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The Arab-Israeli sector held a major strike across Israel and the West Bank on Tuesday to express solidarity with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The strike was called by the Arab High Monitoring Committee, in response to “the war and attack on the Palestinians in Jerusalem, on Sheikh Jarrah and the al-Aqsa Mosque.”The committee’s terms for the strike call for an end to the “massacre” in the Gaza Strip, the aggression in Jerusalem surrounding flashpoints such as al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah, and the immediate withdrawal of right-wing Jewish “settler gangs” and police forces from Arab cities and villages. The strike is also calling for a show of solidarity with those detained during the countrywide rioting.
The strike itself encompassed the entire Arab work sector, with the exception of the private education system and the Arab health sector.
Arab activists campaigned throughout the morning, asking people not to go to work in order to support the strike. Public transport throughout the country was disrupted, and the Transportation Ministry has been working to reduce the impact as much as possible.
The medical sector declined to participate in the strike, choosing to hold a peaceful protest at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa at midday instead.
Dr. Ias Awada, a medical doctor at Rambam Health Care Campus, called on his colleagues to come to work as normal, saying that the healthcare system could not afford to strike.

“The healthcare system has a unique complexity to it, and must not be dragged into political situations,” said Awada. “The health care system has repeatedly demonstrated, in every crisis, its ability to maintain the delicate fabric of our society and should serve as an example to the general public.”
The strike has been both contested and supported by various members of Knesset.
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman tweeted her support for the cause, saying that “the Arab public showed unity in their hopeful struggle this morning.” 


Meanwhile, head of the Otzma Yehudit Party Itamar Ben-Gvir called for the Health and Transportation ministers to “fire the striking workers that identify with terrorism.”
In his letter to the ministers, Ben-Gvir demanded that all employers be issued with unequivocal instructions making it clear that “an employee who does not come to work due to the strike is a supporter of terrorism and must be summoned to a hearing before his (or her) immediate dismissal.”
He also said that if the strike is not dealt with immediately it will cause a nationalistic disaster. 
Also commenting on the ongoing tensions was Shas MK Moshe Arbel, who said that “the Arabs of Israel are not going anywhere, and neither are we – we know, we need, and live with, each other.”
While it is illegal for an employee to be fired for participating in a strike, the case has been argued that as this particular strike was not organized by any labor organization or union, and is instead a political strike, employees may not be protected by labor laws.
Despite this, each case must be treated on an individual basis, as the strikers themselves are protected by workers rights and are entitled to a fair hearing before a decision on dismissal is reached, and therefore Ben-Gvir’s demand for the immediate dismissal of striking workers will likely be largely ignored.
Telecommunications giant Cellcom came under fire earlier in the day after they shut down their services for an hour in solidarity with the strikes. 
“When rockets fell on innocent civilians you didn’t strike,” one user said in protest of their decision, with another announcing their decision to cancel their plan, saying: “I am disconnecting from a service that supports our enemy.”
The Gush Etzion Regional Council announced their decision to terminate their contract with Cellcom and to find an alternative service provide instead, saying that Cellcom clearly exist in a “fantasy reality.”
Cellcom released a statement on the issue, saying that they were participating in a “call for coexistence,” and that they will “continue to act, serve and strengthen the IDF and all the residents of the country in these difficult days and work for the coexistence and joint work of Jews and Arabs at Cellcom.”
At the same time, a “day of rage” has been called across the West Bank, with Fatah encouraging West Bank residents to confront Israeli security forces. In response to this call, large crowds have gathered at Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and multiple people have clashed with Border Police forces.

Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.Source: Jerusalem Post

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