Following the explosion at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday night, a general strike has been initiated across the West Bank. The origins of the strike can be traced to the northern West Bank’s “national and Islamist forces” and has since spread throughout the region. According to reports from Hamas health authorities, hundreds were killed in the hospital explosion.
There are conflicting narratives regarding the cause of the explosion. While Hamas claims it was due to an Israeli airstrike, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have presented evidence suggesting the explosion was the result of a misfired rocket by the Islamic Jihad group. Furthermore, there are differing reports concerning the actual casualty count, with the IDF alleging that Hamas might be inflating the numbers.
In the northern West Bank, cities like Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarem are known strongholds for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The Palestinian Authority’s influence in these areas has waned in recent years. As part of the general strike, numerous establishments including shops, banks, and universities have been temporarily closed.
On the evening of the incident, various parts of the West Bank witnessed widespread protests. These gatherings saw confrontations between the protesters and PA security forces. Demonstrators vocalized their dissatisfaction with the PA, particularly targeting PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of a lack of response to the ongoing events.