A strike declared on Thursday across the Palestinian Authority, in solidarity with security prisoners who have been on a hunger strike for 11 years in Israeli jails, has effectively shut down commercial life in the Arab parts of Judea and Samaria.
Hamas prisoners are boycotting the strike, and Gaza Strip Arabs are ignoring the strike.
The PA appears determined to enforce the strike, and many civilians have been blocked from entering the major cities and forced to return home. The streets of towns and villages are almost empty of cars and pedestrians, and banks and factories are closed in a scene reminiscent of the days of the first Intifada of 1987, Arab media reported.
Long lines of cars have been standing motionless in front of the barricaded entrances to major PA cities, with smoke bellowing from areas where impatient motorists may have confronted PA strike enforcers.
In Bethlehem, in an effort to make the strike stick, a number of roads leading into to the city have been barricaded with stones and tires, and masked men carrying sticks are patrolling the streets, demanding “comprehensive commitment” to the strike by everyone.
In Ramallah, too, a group of young Arabs barricaded all incoming roads to Ramallah and Al-Bireh since the early hours of the morning, using stones and tires.