Israelis rally against Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plan

Protesters with home-made messages attend the rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday. (AP pic)

TEL AVIV: Thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv Saturday night against the government’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, an AFP reporter said.

Demonstrators waved Israeli and Palestinians flags and held placards against the occupation of the West Bank and the possible annexation of parts of it, in a rally organised by leftwing NGOs and political parties.

US President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East plan, unveiled early this year, gives Israel the green light to annex Jewish settlements and other strategic territories in the West Bank.

As part of a recent agreement to form a coalition government with Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can submit the Trump plan to his cabinet and to parliament as early as July 1, for possible endorsement.

The plan also envisions the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory and without meeting the key Palestinian demand of having its capital in east Jerusalem. The Palestinians have rejected the plan outright.

One demonstrator called for more solidarity between Palestinians and Israelis.

“We have done so much damage to each other, the Palestinians and the Jewish” people, Anat Schrieber told AFP.

“We are brothers – we belong here, both of us, we can do so much more together than separately.”

Another rally attendee, identifying herself as Eden, called for “justice to Palestinians and peace to both people, Israelis and Palestinians”.

“In an apartheid reality there cannot be peace for us or them, nor can there be justice.”

An annexation of the territories would violate international law and likely inflame tensions in the volatile region.

“I am afraid of the annexation plan,” Eden said. “I think it will lead to riots and even war.” The plan “will not achieve anything… (and) has no connection to peace,” she contended.