Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Brooklyn for Wednesday’s ‘Day of Rage’ rally, carrying Palestinian flags and shouting “free Palestine.”
There has been a growing chorus of opposition and warning to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ploy to impose Tel Aviv’s “sovereignty” over about a third of the West Bank, including settlements, as well as the fertile Jordan Valley on July 1.
Israel, however, failed to launch the scheme on the set date amid differences between Netanyahu and key members of his cabinet, whose consent the White House says is needed for the annexation to go ahead.
Netanyahu suggested the annexation plan would be delayed as talks continue with Washington, which has yet to give formal blessing for the land grab.
In the New York march, dozens of speakers addressed the crowd, while members of Neturei Karta, an anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish organization, were also spotted at the event carrying elaborate signs and placards.
A protester told RT that, “I’m utterly opposed to Israeli annexation of Palestinian land. They’re living on stolen land, and they’ve been murdering and destroying people. If you look at the map, you can see the amount of land that Palestinians have been allowed to live on has been decreasing rapidly over the years.”
“If they annex the Jordan Valley, it’s World War 3. Everything is on the table, everything is a go. If you look at what’s going on, Netanyahu is taking Israel and the Arab world into World War 3… after they annex the Jordan Valley, we’re talking about war,” another protester warned.
Similar pro-Palestine rallies were also staged in California in New Mexico, with protesters gathering outside the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to protest the annexation plan.
They called on the lawmaker to join progressive Democrats in opposing the scheme.
The protests come as Tel Aviv presses ahead with plans to annex all illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank – including in the strategically important Jordan Valley – many of which were built on Palestinian land in defiance of international law.
International opposition to Israeli land grab
European Union foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell, on Tuesday, denounced Israel’s annexation plan, saying the move constitutes a violation of international law and wrecks the prospects of the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“For us in Europe, it is painful to see the prospect of the two-state solution … at risk. The project of annexation … would mean the end of this solution. EU Member States think that the annexation would violate international law …,” Borrell wrote in an article published in the English-language newspaper The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned Israel against proceeding with plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, calling them illegal.
Writing in an article published in Hebrew on the front page of Israel’s top-selling daily, Yediot Aharonot, Johnson, despite saying he is a “passionate defender of Israel,” noted, “Annexation would represent a violation of international law.”
“So it is with sadness that I have followed the proposals to annex Palestinian territory,” he noted.
US President Donald Trump gave Tel Aviv the green light for the land grab in his self-proclaimed “deal of the century,” which was unveiled in January with the aim of legitimizing Israel’s occupation and re-drawing the Middle East map.
However, the US has remained undecided on whether to formally support the annexation measure sought by Netanyahu under the current circumstances.
This week, a group of US lawmakers has called on the Trump administration to sever its diplomatic relations with Israel as it goes ahead with its highly controversial scheme to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
In a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Democratic lawmakers, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), warned against the Israeli land grab scheme, saying it would be a “clear violation” of international law.