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regular-article-logo Saturday, 18 May 2024

Palestinians in West Bank holds strike to protest Israeli military raid at refugee camp

The raid was the latest operation in a sweeping economic and security clampdown in the territory occupied by Israel, even as it prosecutes its war against Hamas in Gaza

Vivek Shankar, Isabel Kershner New York Published 22.04.24, 05:48 AM
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Palestinians in the West Bank on Sunday went on a general strike to protest an Israeli military raid at a refugee camp a day earlier in which at least 10 people were killed, in an episode that illustrated the ongoing unrest in the territory.

The raid was the latest operation in a sweeping economic and security clampdown in the territory occupied by Israel, even as it prosecutes its war against Hamas in Gaza. Since the Hamas-led October 7 attacks on Israel, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and detained in raids in the West Bank, which Israeli officials describe as counterterrorism operations against Hamas and other armed groups.

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Sunday’s strike “paralysed all aspects of life” in the West Bank, according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, with shops, schools, universities and banks shuttered. Public transportation also came to a standstill.

It was not the first shutdown in the occupied West Bank — where about 500,000 Israeli settlers live alongside roughly 2.7 million Palestinians — as an act of protest in recent months. The Israeli authorities have tightened restrictions in the territory since October 7, cancelling thousands of work permits that allowed Palestinians to work in Israel and squeezing the West Bank’s economy.

And violence in the West Bank has sharply escalated in recent months. Nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces there since the Israel-Hamas war started, according to the Palestinian ministry of health. Deadly violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank has also reached record levels since October 7.

Early on Sunday, two Palestinian males in their late teens were fatally shot by Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The Israeli military said one of them had opened fire at soldiers at a military post north of Hebron and the other had tried to stab them.

Later on Sunday morning, an Israeli man was slightly injured in an explosion in the West Bank, according to the Israeli emergency services. Video footage shared by Israeli news outlets showed him kicking down a Palestinian flag on a pole in a field near a settlement. The flag appeared to have been booby-trapped.

Those incidents came after the Israeli military’s hourslong raid in the Nur Shams refugee camp, in the northern part of the West Bank, on Saturday.

New York Times News Service

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