Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel downed tools for the day on Tuesday in a rare joint action, protesting violence against Arab Israelis, the unfolding Israeli military campaign targeting Gazans, and the looming eviction of several families from their homes in eastern Jerusalem al Quds.

Iran Press/Middle East: Streets were deserted in Arab areas across both Israel and the occupied territories, as shopkeepers shuttered stores along the waterfront in Jaffa, central Israel; the steep roads of Umm el-Fahm, an Arab town in northern Israel; and West Bank cities such as Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, and Ramallah.

Demonstrators gathered instead in central squares, waving Palestinian flags, listening to speeches, and chanting against Israeli policies. Outside Ramallah, a group of Palestinians who had gathered separately from the protesters set fires on a major thoroughfare and later exchanged gunfire with Israeli soldiers, officials said.

Mustafa Barghouti, an independent politician who attended a rally in central Ramallah on Tuesday morning, said the protests constituted “a very significant day.”

“It reflects how Palestinians now have a unified struggle against the same system of apartheid,” he added.

Many Palestinians on either side of the boundary between Israel and the occupied territories say that they are the victims of the same system of oppression — one that operates with varying degrees of intensity, and offers Arabs varying degrees of freedom, but ultimately seeks to assert Jewish supremacy wherever that system is in force.

Palestinians saw the strike as an attempt to show solidarity with Gaza and to strengthen calls for an independent Palestinian state.