Palestinian political factions and activists have called for a general strike and “civil disobedience” on Sunday to protest strict Israeli security measures against the residents of the Shuafat refugee camp and the nearby town of Anata.
The measures, denounced by the Palestinians as “collective punishment,” were imposed in October 2022, when Udai Tamimi, a resident of Anata, shot and killed female soldier Noa Lazar at a checkpoint at the entrance to the refugee camp which, together with parts of Anata, is located within the boundaries of the Jerusalem Municipality.
Like most of the residents of the two communities, Tamimi, 22, held an Israeli-issued ID card in his capacity as a permanent resident of Jerusalem. He was later shot dead after he opened fire at security guards at the entrance to Ma’aleh Adumim.
Last week, Border Police officer Asil Sawaed was killed in another attack at the entrance to the refugee camp. Police said a 13-year-old boy from the camp pulled out a knife and assaulted Border Police officers who were conducting a security check on a bus. A security guard opened fire at the assailant, accidentally hitting Sawaed.
Also last week, a 14-year-old boy from the camp was arrested after stabbing and wounding an Israeli man in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Since the first attack police have imposed strict security measures at the checkpoint, conducted large-scale raids on the camp and in Anata and arrested scores of residents suspected of involvement in terrorism.
Residents complained that the security measures have caused traffic jams at the entrances to the two communities, delaying the arrival of employees to work and students to school in various parts of Jerusalem.
Calls for 'civil disobedience'
The call for a general strike and “civil disobedience” came amid mounting tensions in east Jerusalem over a series of measures approved by the Security Cabinet earlier this month, including the deployment of extra police and a crackdown against inciters and supporters of terrorism. The recent demolition of houses built without licenses in some Arab neighborhoods has further raised tensions.
A statement issued on Friday by The National and Islamic Forces and representative of the residents of Shuafat camp and Anata said the call for a general strike and “civil disobedience” came in response to the “daily extremist and racist crimes of the occupation government against our Palestinian people in Jerusalem and all the Palestinian territories.”
The statement accused Israeli authorities of taking “retaliatory measures” against the children, students, women, the elderly and the sick in Shuafat camp and Anata.
As part of the “civil disobedience,” the statement said, workers would not go to their workplaces in Israel and all residents would boycott Israeli institutions, including the Jerusalem Municipality, and refrain from paying taxes and other bills.
It called on protesters to block the entrances to Shuafat camp and Anata at 4.30 am on Sunday to prevent residents from heading to work.
The statement called on all Palestinians to express solidarity with the “struggle” of Shuafat camp and Anata to “end the injustice and oppression” to which they are being subjected. Hamas spokesperson Mohammed Hamadeh said the planned strike and “civil disobedience” will “send a message of challenge to the occupation that it will leave our holy land.” Hamadeh called on Palestinians to support the campaign of the residents of Shuafat camp and Anata, as well as all the residents of east Jerusalem.
Hamas spokesperson Mohammed Hamadeh said the planned strike and “civil disobedience” will “send a message of challenge to the occupation that it will leave our holy land.” Hamadeh called on Palestinians to support the campaign of the residents of Shaufat camp and Anata, as well as all the residents of east Jerusalem.
“The heroism of our people has surprised the occupation,” the Hamas official said. “The occupation did not expect this resistance from our people because all its schemes to expel the people of Jerusalem have failed.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organization, the second largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, said in a statement that “Jerusalem will remain the address for the unity of Arabs and Muslims.” According to PIJ, the “liberation of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and all the land of Palestine is the responsibility of the Arabs and Muslims.