Thousands gathered at the Tel Aviv Rabin Square this Saturday to protest the Israeli government’s decision to ramp up on the west bank annexation program. The program initially led by Ariel Sharon, was subjected to much criticism where foreigners of Jewish faith were entitled to confiscated Palestinian lands and homes upon arrival. However, the program was slowed down following Sharon’s calls to fall back shortly before his forced retirement from politics. Under Benjamin Netanyahu however, the annexation of west bank has been pushed forward with King Abdulla II of Jordan warning Israel of dire consequences.
The protest led by both Jews and Arabs from Israel called to stop the occupation and the annexation of Palestinian lands. Israel’s left wing green party Meretz Chairmen Nitzan Horowitz who addressed the protestors said “ Annexation is a war crime. A crime against peace, a crime against democracy. A crime that will cost us in blood. He went on to criticize the Iraeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying “ You are full partners in this, you are backing and authorizing this tragedy.”.
Speaking to the protestors through video conference, the Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders asked the protestors to stand up for what’s right stating “In these difficult days … it has never been more important to stand up for justice, and to fight for the future we all deserve. It’s up to all of us to stand up to authoritarian leaders and to build a peaceful future for every Palestinian and every Israeli … In the words of my friend Ayman Odeh: The only future is a shared future.” .
However, Israeli Prime Minister’s Office plans to move forward with the occupation as a statement released by his office stated that the Israeli Government will move forward with the annexation regardless of US President Trumps peace plans which demands a freeze on all further expansions on Israeli settlements and the handover of 15 Palestinian lands to Palestinian authorities. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later stated that he is committed to negotiate with Palestinian authorities under President trumps peace plan.