RAMALLAH: Palestinians staged a commercial strike in several West Bank towns and cities in solidarity with the Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem.
Most shops, universities, and schools in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem were closed on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The strike was in response to Israel’s closure of entrances leading to the Shufat refugee camp since October 8, after a shooting attack at a nearby Israeli army checkpoint killed an Israeli soldier and critically wounded another.
An Israeli army spokesman identified the assailant as 24-year-old Palestinian Odai Tamimi, a resident of the refugee camp.
An engineering unit of the Israeli army were measuring the dimensions of Tamimi’s bakery and house to prepare for demolition when the attack happened, according to the spokesman.
Residents of Shufat told Xinhua on the phone that life was disrupted in the refugee camp and Anata neighbourhood after the Israeli authorities decided to collectively punish more than 130,000 Palestinian residents.
Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian official in charge of the settlements affairs file in the northern West Bank, told Xinhua that the Israeli army on Tuesday closed several main entrances to the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, most notably the Hawara checkpoint.
The Israelis also closed the southern entrance connecting the northern West Bank with its central and southern towns and cities.
“The Israeli closure of the city is a deliberate policy to separate and isolate the Palestinian cities from each other,” the official said, adding that the Israelis’ actions will lead to tensions.
Israeli media outlets reported that the Israeli army decided to increase pressure on the city of Nablus and close its entrances and exits after a Tuesday shooting attack that killed another Israeli soldier, after which the perpetrator fled the scene.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the military operations at the West Bank against “terrorism” would continue.