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West Bank Palestinians observe general strike, day of mourning for 16 killed in Gaza

March 31, 2018 12:42 P.M. (Updated: April 2, 2018 11:54 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinians across the occupied West Bank launched a general strike on Saturday, shuttering all businesses and institutions in solidarity with the protesters in Gaza and in mourning of the 16 Palestinian civilians who were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on Friday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for the general strike and a national day of mourning, which included all official and private institutions, primary schools and universities.

On Friday, Palestinians were commemorating the 42nd anniversary of Land Day, when six Palestinian protesters were gunned down by Israeli forces in 1976, as they were protesting the Israeli government confiscation of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land.

Local activists and grassroots organizations in Gaza organized what is being called “The Great March of Return,” where hundreds of thousands of refugees in Gaza will peacefully demonstrate for the right to return to their original homelands in what is now Israel.

More than 70 percent of the almost 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees.

The Great March of Return will continue for six weeks until May 15, which marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, when more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands to make way for the creation of the state of Israel.

Palestinians in Gaza have set up tents near the border and plan to and move gradually closer to the border fence and erected dozens of signs in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, saying “We are not here to fight; we are here to return to our lands.”

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