Palestinians come out in force to protest US-backed Israel plan

Bethlehem/PNN/

Hundreds of Palestinians have rallied in the city of Hebron in southern West Bank against a United States-backed Israeli plan to annex huge swathes of the occupied territory.

The rallies were held on Friday on the anniversary of Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel occupied the territories during a Western-backed war that year. It was forced to leave Gaza in 2005 but keeps the coastal sliver under a crippling siege. Across the West Bank, Israel has illegally built over 230 settlements that house more than 600,000 Israelis.

The rallies that had been called by West Bank-based Palestinian political factions took place in protest against a plan announced by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex the areas where the settlements have been built and the Jordan Valley. The areas that are targeted by the regime’s scheme comprise 30 percent of the West Bank.

Netanyahu announced the plan emboldened by a hugely-controversial plot that was detailed and backed by US President Donald Trump on January 28.

The protesters on Friday chanted anti-Israeli and anti-Washington slogans, waved Palestinian flags, and held up banners some of which read, “No to the policy of annexation of the West Bank. No to division of Hebron.”

“Today is a day for general mobilization in all of the country’s governorates against the annexation deal, which was announced by Netanyahu, and in rejection to Trump’s ‘deal of the century,’” one demonstrator said, referring to the US plot by the ironic name that has been assigned to it by the US president.

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The participants, the protester said, were seeking “to send a message to the world, especially Israel, that the people will not accept any solution less than a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem to be the capital.”

Another participant said the protest was one that “rejects and condemns all Israeli measures and is against the American administration’s bias in favor of Israel.”

The US plot also re-endorsed Washington’s incendiary recognition of as Israel’s “capital.” The recognition that came during Trump’s presidency flies in the face of Palestinians’ age-old demand that the city’s eastern part serve as the capital of their future state.

Since the US’s unveiling of the plot, Palestinians have stopped recognizing any intermediary role by Washington in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.