18 May 2021

Palestinians hold general strike as Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket attacks continue

Europe Editor and Presenter

Despite international calls for a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants, the exchange of airstrikes and rockets over the Gaza border continues tonight.

Behind the scenes, foreign leaders are trying to broker a pause. US President Joe Biden says he would support a ceasefire, but repeated his view that Israel does have the right to defend itself.

His Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has reached out to Palestinian and regional Arab leaders, but he has also stopped short of demanding an immediate end to the fighting.

So in this deafening conflict, is ‘quiet’ democracy far too quiet? Because an end to the violence does not appear imminent.

For the first time in years, the Palestinians called a general strike today across all Palestinian Territories in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, here in Jerusalem and in Palestinian neighbourhoods inside Israel.

As we discovered, the strike was widely observed, shops were shuttered and there were plenty of marches in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

I think it’s fair to say that the elastic of Palestinian patience has once again snapped.