Israel strikes Lebanon during Palestinian General Strike

Clashes between youths and Israeli soldiers near the Hawara checkpoint, east of Nablus

DOZENS of air strikes pounded Gaza yesterday while a new front in the conflict opened up as the Israeli military also shelled Lebanon in response to six failed rocket launches from southern areas in the neighbouring country.

At least 213 Palestinians, including 61 children, have now been killed in Gaza since the attacks began. About 1,500 Palestinians have been wounded. Twelve people in Israel have died, including two children, while at least 300 have been wounded.

The general strike across the whole of Palestine was in full swing yesterday.

Shops were shuttered across cities in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and in villages and towns in Israel as Palestinians observed a general strike to protest Israel’s bombardment of the enclave.

The strike, which is supported by both Hamas, the group running Gaza, and Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, led to the suspension of all economic activity and closure of educational institutions.

‘It’s the first time in decades that we see Palestinians across the political divide take part in such a general strike,’ said Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah.

Three people were arrested at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City where Israeli police used rubber bullets, stun grenades and skunk water to disperse protesters.

Bethlehem erupted yesterday as Israeli heavily armed military police attacked young Palestinian protesters who had set up burning barricades. The Israeli soldiers then open fired with live ammunition.

One protester was shot and killed by Israeli live fire, another 11 were injured.

Palestinians also held rallies in other cities, including Nablus and Hebron, amid the general strike.

More than 58,000 Palestinians have been displaced by Israeli air strikes that have destroyed or badly damaged nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

About 47,000 of these displaced people have sought shelter in 58 UN-run schools.

OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke said among yesterday’s destroyed and severely damaged buildings are six hospitals and nine primary healthcare centres including Gaza’s only Covid-19 vaccination centre and the Palestinian Ministry of Health.