Thousands Protest Annexation Plan in Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV (Reuters) -

Several thousand Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Motzoei Shabbos against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend sovereignty over parts of Yehudah and Shomron and the Jordan Valley.

Protesting in face masks and keeping their distance from each other under coronavirus restrictions, they gathered under the banner “No to annexation, no to occupation, yes to peace and democracy.” Some waved Palestinian flags.

The protest was organized by leftwing groups and did not appear to be the start of a popular mass movement. Around half of Israelis support annexation, according to a recent opinion poll.

The organizers screened a video address by Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

“It has never been more important to stand up for justice, and to fight for the future we all deserve,” Sanders said. “It’s up to all of us to stand up to authoritarian leaders and to build a peaceful future for every Palestinian and every Israeli.”

Netanyahu has set July 1 as the date to begin advancing his plan to annex Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron and the Jordan Valley, hoping for a green light from Washington.

President Donald Trump has unveiled a peace plan that includes Israel keeping its communities and allows Palestinians to establish a state, under conditions.