File photo shows Israeli diplomats protesting at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in al-Quds/Press TV PhotoTel Aviv, 23 Jumadil  Awwal 1435/24 March 2014 (MINA) –  Israeli Occupation Foreign Ministry officials and diplomats have gone on strike, effectively shutting down Tel Aviv’s embassies and consulates worldwide.

The Israeli Occupation Foreign Ministry’s website on Sunday said that a general strike has been declared and Israel’s missions abroad will not open as of Monday morning, March 24.

According to the ministry’s workers union, more than 100 Israeli missions overseas as well as the ministry’s headquarters in occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem) will be completely closed for an indefinite time, Press TV quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting, Sunday evening.

Israeli sources said that the missions abroad will be completely closed and that security officers have been instructed to prevent entrance to all, including military and intelligence officials as well as those from other ministries.

The walkout is staged in protest over the embassy workers’ wages and employment conditions.

The ministry’s website said diplomats have not dealt with foreign representatives, official visits of any kind, either in Israel or overseas, nor issued visas or provided consular services since wage talks on March 4.

The strike is likely to affect a range of visits by foreign dignitaries, including that of Pope Francis in May.

The union has blamed the Finance Ministry for the action, saying it has declared a war of destruction against Israel’s foreign services.

This is the first time Israeli diplomats have gone on an open-ended walkout.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – who would reportedly be locked out of his office during the strike – has reacted angrily, calling the strike a “miserable decision.” (T/E01/IR)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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