An indefinite military curfew in the entire Gaza Strip and a general strike by Palestinians in the West Bank shut down the territories Friday on the first anniversary of the Palestinian uprising against Israel's 21-year occupation.
Israel Radio reported security forces were patrolling main highways and city roads within Israel to prevent attacks on the anniversary day.Israeli Arabs also planned marches in their communities in solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. But only a partial strike was observed in Druze villages in the Golan Heights, annexed by Israel after its capture from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War.
Merchants in Arab East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank kept their stores shuttered for a second day in observance of a two-day general strike called to mark Friday's anniversary. The call also included the Gaza Strip, where merchants were shut down by the military curfew.
The army imposed the indefinite curfew on Gaza's more than 630,000 Palestinians at 9 p.m. Thursday to prevent violence in the impoverished coastal strip where the uprising erupted one year ago in the Jabalia refugee camp.
On Friday, the military closed the West Bank towns of Ramallah and Nablus to journalists to prevent "possible disturbances which we hope will not come on this anniversary day," an army spokesman said.
Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna, commander of the district that includes the West Bank, said he believed there had been a decline in disturbances and casualties in the territories over the past month despite several significant dates, such as the declaration of an independent Palestinian state.