Palestinians rally in Ramallah against Israeli annexation plan

Posters and placards at the Ramallah rally expressing the solidarity of Palestinians with Black Lives Matter and US workers in their struggle against the Trump government

THOUSANDS of Palestinians rallied in downtown Ramallah on Monday against Israel’s intention to annex a large part of the occupied West Bank.

Participants hoisted the Palestinian flag and signs denouncing the annexation plan, while speakers warned of the imminent danger to security and stability in the region if Israel proceeds with its plan.

The Israeli government is currently planning annexation of the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea, which border Jordan, as well as applying sovereignty to over 100 illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a process Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said will start on July 1st.

Speakers at the rally, who included Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) officials, warned that the annexation would kill any chance of reaching a peace agreement in the region as it would kill the goal of establishing an independent and viable Palestinian state within the June 5, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In response to the annexation plan, the PLO last month absolved itself of the agreements it signed with Israel and suspended all ties with it, including security coordination. It also demanded a clear and firm position from the international community against the annexation, including imposing sanctions on Israel.

Also on Monday, Israeli forces detained 28 Palestinians from various districts of the West Bank, but most of them in occupied East Jerusalem, said the Palestine Prisoners’ Society (PPS).

Israeli police detained 21 Palestinians after raiding and ransacking their family homes in the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of al-Tur, Wadi al-Joz, Silwan, Issawiyeh and Jerusalem’s Old City.

During the raid into al-Tur, police seized a private vehicle.

PPS noted that since the beginning of 2020, Israel has detained a total of 845 Palestinians from the occupied holy city.

In Hebron district in the south of the West Bank, PPS said Israeli soldiers detained a resident of al-Shuyukh town, northeast of Hebron, after stopping him at a checkpoint in al-Ezariya town, east of Jerusalem. The detainee is a senior at Birzeit University.

In Bethlehem district, Israeli military raided al-Khader town, west of Bethlehem city, where soldiers detained two minors aged 16.

Soldiers conducted a similar raid in Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, resulting in the detention of a 15-year-old boy.

In Jenin district, PPS said that two Palestinians were detained in a raid in Qabatia town, south of Jenin city.

During ensuing confrontations, Israeli troops opened fire towards local teens who were attempting to block their passage. No injuries were reported though.

PPS said that another Palestinian was detained from Khirbet al-Hadidiya in the northern Jordan Valley.

Meanwhile, Israel issued demolition orders on Monday against several structures in the north and south of the occupied West Bank under the pretext of building without permits.

The demolition orders were issued against a park, unpaved road, retaining walls, a children’s playground and a storage space owned by a Palestinian family in the village of Hares, near the northern West Bank city of Salfit, and built on a 100-dunum plot.

Amin Dawood, son of the owner of the structures, told WAFA that the military forces handed his family the demolition notices claiming the structures were built without a permit.

In the south of the West Bank, the Israeli army notified six people in Khillet al-Khaldieh and Khillet Azouh, in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, of the intention to demolish their homes, animal barns and a water well also under the pretext of building without permit from the army, according to Rateb al-Jabour, a local activist.

Israeli forces also dismantled and seized a greenhouse belonging to a resident of the village of al-Sawahreh al-Sharqiya, southeast of occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext that it was built without a permit.

Locals told Palestinian news agency WAFA that the forces raided the village in a private vehicle and dismantled the 200-square-metre plastic house before seizing it.

The greenhouse owner said he’d never received a demolition order, but that the Israeli forces showed up and dismantled it while banning people from being in the area.

It is worth mentioning that four Palestinian families were delivered demolition orders against their homes in the same village, one of the houses had been financed by the European Union.

Israeli forces also demolished shacks and tents in the village of Birin, in Masafer Yatta to the south of the occupied southern West Bank city of Hebron, and seized them, according to Fouad al-Amoor, a local activist.

He told WAFA that the Israeli forces raided the village and demolished shacks and tents belonging to local families before taking them away.

Through such measures and violations, Israel aims to force Palestinians out of the village in order to expand the illegal Israeli settlement of Pnei Hever, al-Amoor charged.

Popular committees coordinator in Yatta, Rateb al-Jabour, told WAFA that the demolished structures sheltered 20 children, women and elderly people.

The ongoing demolition of Palestinian structures as well as the confirmed new novel coronavirus cases in the occupied Palestinian territories and the diaspora dominated Monday’s front page headlines in the daily newspapers.

Al-Ayyam and al-Quds reported that Israeli forces and settlers carried out a series of assaults and demolitions across the West Bank.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida elaborated that Israeli forces demolished Palestinian street vendors’ kiosks in the vicinity of Qalandia military checkpoint, north of Jerusalem.

They added that Israeli forces delivered military orders to demolish two Palestinian houses and a structure to the east of Yatta in the southern Hebron district.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said that settlers tore down a retaining wall in Beit Anoun village, northeast of Hebron, and stole the Palestinian harvest from Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron.

Additionally, al-Ayyam said that Israeli police banned a number of Palestinians’ entry into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and detained and summoned others.

Al-Quds explained that 24 Palestinians were banned entry into al-Quds and the mosque compound.

Highlighting Covid-19 spread among Palestinians, the dailies reported Health Minister Mai Alkaila confirming eight new Covid-19 cases in the southern West Bank town of Halhoul.

She was also reported in al-Ayyam as confirming that three coronavirus cases recovered in Beit Ula town, northwest of Hebron.

The dailies also reported the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry announcing that two Palestinians died due to the virus in Kuwait.

The death of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah at the age of 62 in Damascus at the weekend hit the front page headlines in the dailies, which also reported that President Mahmoud Abbas had expressed his condolences to the Shallah family.

According to al-Quds, the Israeli occupation authorities transferred the ownership of the Jordan-era Post Office in the occupied city of Jerusalem to a settler organisation, and classified church institutions as public facilities.

Regarding Israel’s impending move to annex large swaths of the West Bank, al-Quds said that the Union of Palestinian Communities and Organisations in Europe had called on the European Union to prevent the annexation move.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is scheduled to hold an extraordinary meeting this week to discuss Israel’s annexation threats.

Chilean Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida as warning that Israel’s annexation move would have grave consequences for peace prospects and the two-state solution.

It said that the Arab Parliament called on the UN Security Council and the UN to take immediate and decisive measures to prevent the annexation move.

Al-Ayyam reported that a Palestinian faction leader in Gaza slammed the visit by the chairman of the Qatari Committee for Gaza Reconstruction, Mohammad al-Emadi, to Gaza as being intended to keep Gaza away from confronting the Israeli occupation.