Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Jericho on Monday in the West Bank’s largest gathering against the Trump administration’s Middle East plan to annex Israeli settlement blocks and the Jordan Valley.
Several thousands of people demonstrated on Monday, June 22, in Jericho, on the occupied West Bank, against the US plan for the Middle East, paralyzed by the Palestinian leadership.
This is the largest gathering at the West Bank since the announcement in late January of President Donald Trump’s project, when previous protests had gathered dozens or a few hundred protesters.
Mahmoud Abbas Fatah Party, head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), had demanded massive mobilization despite restrictions linked to the corona virus in Jericho, an Arab city in the southern tip of the Jordan Valley, near the Sea of Death, on the West Bank.
“No Palestinian state without Jordan Valley”, “Palestine is not for sale”, “Trump plan will never pass”, “International law is clear, we are here in Palestine”, we can read on signs.
The US administration’s plan stipulates that Israel would annex the Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, an extensive agricultural plain, on the West Bank and create a Palestinian state on reduced territory.
For its part, the Palestinian Authority says it has gathered international support for the project, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government must announce from July 1 its strategy for implementing the US plan.
“I came here to protest against the annexation because there will be no more land for a Palestinian state if Israel were annexed,” one of the protesters, Mohammed Ichloon, 48, who came from the camp, told AFP. refugees from Aqabat Jaber, located on the outskirts of the city.
“We will not let Israel steal our country,” said Kamal Said, a Christian NGO employee living in the same camp.
“You are not tenants here, this is your home”
And United Nations envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, spoke out to criticize the Trump plan while urging Palestinians to peacefully oppose it.
“You are not tenants here, this is your home,” Nickolay Mladenov told the Palestinians, urging diplomats not to “waste a second, one minute or one hour” to act against the proposed annex.
Today I joined #EU, #Russia, #Kina, #Japanese, #Jordan to express support for #Palestinian people. My message was simple – do not go off the road to non-violence, do not lose hope for a Palestinian state living side by side and at peace with #Israel.
– Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) June 22, 2020
“The UN believes that the annexation is in violation of international law (…) And if implemented, it will kill the idea that peace and a state of the Palestinians can be obtained through negotiations,” he said, urging the Palestinians “not to deviate from the path of non- violence”.
“Do not lose sight of the goal of a free Palestinian state, on this earth, and together with Israel (…) aligned with the 1967 borders,” questioned by the annex to the project, one he added.
In the wake of the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel established or legalized a network of settlements there, illegal under international law. Today, more than 450,000 people live in settlements on the West Bank, a number that has increased by almost 50% over the past decade, according to Israeli data.
Europe and the Middle East have warned against Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank without announcing concrete measures. Chinese and Russian officials also spoke at the Jericho rally on Monday, an AFP team said.
“We now have a broad international coalition against the Israeli plan to annex land on the West Bank,” consisting of “Arab countries, non-aligned countries, Africa and Europe,” said Monday at. AFP Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saëb Erakat.
“No country is outside this coalition, except Israel and the United States,” he said.