September 30, 2018 / 2:33 PM / 15 days ago

Palestinians to support Israel's Arabs in general strike on Monday

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinians called a general strike for Monday in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in support of an Israeli-Arab protest against Israel’s Nation State Law.

Leaders of Israel’s Arab community have called for their private sector to strike against the recently-passed Nation State Law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel.

The strike will have limited effect on the country as a whole as Monday is a holiday for Israel’s Jewish majority as they mark the end of the Sukkot festival.

Factions in the Palestinian territories have said schools, universities, government offices and shops will close in solidarity.

The law has come under fierce criticism at home and abroad and has provoked anger among the 1.8 million Palestinian Arabs who make up a fifth of Israel’s 9 million citizens.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hastily set up a committee to propose new legislation to mollify the law’s critics but no amendments have been enacted since the its passage in July shortly before Parliament went on its summer recess. It will reconvene in the middle of October.

Mohammed Barakeh, a former Israeli lawmaker who heads a committee that monitors Israeli policy concerning Israel’s Arabs, said the strike had been called in coordination with groups in the Palestinian territories.

“The strike is a message to the world that the cause of apartheid and racism is something that should not only be dealt with internally but it should be talked about globally,” Barakeh said.

Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Peter Graff

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