2 September 2009, by
The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee announced on Wednesday that it will hold a general strike next month in protest of the government’s policies.
In the meeting, held in Nazareth, it was decided that the strike will take place on the same day that the events of October 2000, which left 13 Israeli-Arabs dead, are commemorated.
The one-day strike will include all sectors in Arab towns. This is a relatively serious move, since it has been a few years since the last general strike in the Arab sector.
Two days ago the committee’s Follow-up Committee on Education threatened to declare a rebellion if the singing of the Israeli national anthem and encouragement to serve in national service were imposed in Arab schools.
The last time a general strike was called in the Arab sector was in the year 2005, in protest of the decision to close the cases against police officers suspected of firing gunshots during the events of October 2000.
The committee is slated to convene shortly in order to decide on how the next strike will be realized.
Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh explained the decision to Ynet: "This strike will be a protest call against the racist wave that has been sweeping this country on all levels. On the level of the government and its ministries’ conduct, the denial of the Arabs’ rights - at least in anything to do with October 2000 and the murder in Shfaram, where the victims are being brought to court instead of hunting down the perpetrator to see who assisted him.
"Because of the demolition of houses in Wadi Ara without providing any alternatives to the homeowners, and the serious state the local authorities are in. In the Arab education system, we are not talking about (sufficient) computers, but about school benches."
According to Barakeh, "There are 9,000 classrooms missing, and at the rate of construction of the Education Ministry, it will take another 51 years to close this gap. The racist atmosphere has become a favorite arena for frustrated politicians.
"Anyone seeking fame finds it in racist whims against Arabs – the ministers of infrastructure, education, transportations, whoever. Whether it’s an idea to change traffic signs by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, or the spreading of Jewish Zionist education and rewarding schools for military and national service recruitments rates by the education minister."
Barakeh said that Gideon Sa’ar "must understand that he is the education minister, not the defense minister. This is an irrelevant condition to be placed by an education minister".
He added, "We decided on this move early and we will work until the day of the strike in every city and village and form public commissions to get the broad public on board.
"I would like to warn the government and its extensions not to aggravate its attitude towards the Arab public, but to internalize the message we wish to convey – that we seek life and equality. Threats against the Arab public from the government and the opposition will be futile and will not help. I hope that a large part of the Jewish public is attentive to our demands and concerns."