Palestinians in West Bank strike over Israel’s nation law

A Palestinian man walks in front of closed shops during a general strike in protest of the recently passed Jewish nation state law in Israel. in the old city of Nablus in the West Bank, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinians are on a general strike across the West Bank in solidarity with Arab citizens of Israel over a contentious law that defines Israel as a Jewish state.

The streets of Ramallah and other West Bank cities were largely empty on Monday as schools, universities, government offices and private business were closed. Public transportation also wasn’t available.

For the Palestinians, the strike is a rare foray into domestic Israeli politics.

Critics of Israel’s Jewish nation state law, passed last month, say it sidelines Israel’s non-Jewish citizens.

Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence defined the country as a Jewish and democratic state. The government says the new law merely enshrines Israel’s existing character, but critics say it undercuts Israel’s democratic values and marginalizes the Arab minority, about 20 percent of the population.

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