More than 320 distinguished figures from Latin America including former political leaders have signed a statement, calling for imposition of sanctions against Israel over its controversial plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement announced that the statement, underwritten by former Brazilian presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, former Bolivian president Evo Morales, former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa and Argentine Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, was part of a South African initiative to unify efforts from all over the world for the punitive measures.
The statement also calls for the re-activation of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid in order to put an end to the Tel Aviv regime’s apartheid policies against Palestinian people in the occupied lands.
“The proposed annexation of Palestinian territory by Israel is not only an offense against international law and a threat to peace; it is an attack against women and men who fought against colonialism and apartheid,” Brazil’s former foreign minister Celso Amorim, a signatory to the statement, said.
Palestinians believe Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex one-third of the already illegally occupied West Bank, including parts of the strategic Jordan Valley, is only a formality and a de facto Israeli occupation of their land has been under way for many years.
“Israel’s annexation plan has been in process since 1967,” Salah Khawaja, coordinator of an anti-occupation campaign called the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall and the Settlements, said :“Israel has since built settlements and the wall. And so, annexation has been ongoing for a long time,” he added.
July 1 was set by Netanyahu to start annexation of parts of the West Bank, but Tel Aviv 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’s office announced that he will continue to discuss the plan with the US administration.
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.