The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee said the government's policy towards the Arab public in Israel "contributed to the strike's success."
Arab Knesset members, dignitaries and public figures attended the rally, during which Hadash Chairman MK Muhammad Barakeh said, "The success of the general strike and the high participation in the rally are an important message to the government and the leaders of the racist policy it has been running for decades. The Israeli policy will lead to an explosion in the entire Arab population, which is united today around the decision to strike. This is a legitimate protest move, which will be the first step in a line of future measures."
Relatives of October 2000 victims (Photo: Zoom Out Productions)
'Blood won't be forgotten'
Jamila, the mother of Asil Asala, who was killed in the October 2000 riots along with 12 other Arab Israelis, was at the rally, and told Ynet, "I see the masses that came here and this is encouraging and comforting, but does not ease the pain or the fact that those guilty of murdering my son have yet to be found. If the Israeli (government) thinks the Arabs will grow old and eventually forget, it is wrong. We will remember every year and our boys' blood will not be forgotten."
Qasem Hussein, from Kaukab, said during the rally, "This is the first time there is such a strike, even on Land Day we didn't see so many people coming to express their pain. It's not just because of the pain of the October 2000 events, but because the Arab society is on the brink of an explosion."
A number of Jews were also on hand to support the Arab sector. Tali Fahima, who in the past was tried who and convicted for her contacts with Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades commander Zakaria Zubeidi, said, "When you push too much eventually there is an explosion, and those who will pay the price are innocent Jews.
"The Zionist regime is pressuring those who are living under the occupation; it will blow up in your faces; you will pay a heavy, bloody price," she said.
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) said the rally conveyed a message of "unity in the face of the discrimination," adding, "We are determined to triumph over racism."