Palestinians Step Up Fight Against Annexation With Planned Rally in Jericho

Protest to include UN envoy and Arab and foreign diplomats, as Palestinian Authority attempts to rally public against Israel's annexation plans during decisive week

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag in front of Israeli forces during a protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, near Tulkarm June 5, 2020.
A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag in front of Israeli forces during a protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, near Tulkarm June 5, 2020.Credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian Authority officials intend to step up their fight against Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank with a protest rally on Monday at the entrance of Jericho.

Members of the Fatah movement view the success of the protest as a leadership test, and are calling on the Palestinian public across the West Bank to participate.

A member of Fatah’s Central Committee, Jibril Rajoub, called on Sunday during a press conference in Ramallah for the Palestinian public to demonstrate against the occupation.

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“There is a Palestinian consensus about the popular struggle at this stage, and we are prepared to move on to other stages should there be support to do so,” Rajoub said without detailing what the coming stages are. “If there will be annexation, we won’t suffer alone and we won’t die alone.”

“Today we are in favor of a popular struggle, but if there will be annexation, the tools of opposition will change as long as there is support and consensus. We are assuming that there will be annexation and that Netanyahu is going for it. We will maintain the popular struggle until we reach the next stage, and we will be the spearhead within it,” added Rajoub.

The protest rally will take place Monday afternoon, according to Rajoub, and will include Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations’s Middle East envoy, as well as Arab and other foreign diplomats. “We will send the message that we will not let annexation pass and we will increase the protests,” stressed Rajoub. “The messages will be at all levels of the Palestinian people, but we will be careful to observe coronavirus regulations.”

Fatah’s central committee decided to hold the protest over the weekend when it met to discuss, among other things, the failure to recruit the Palestinian public for the protests. Thus, Fatah officials see the coming week as decisive regarding the Palestinian struggle against annexation.

Rajoub also said that the Palestinian leadership would meet this week in the Jordan Valley to express solidarity with the local Palestinian residents.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the Public Diplomacy Minister and spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the coming 10 days would be decisive and dramatic. He said Palestinian leaders don’t know if Israel and the United States will fulfill their promise to annex, and therefore their following steps on the matter depend on developments in Jerusalem and Washington.

International figures have recently put heavy pressure on Abbas to renew contact with the Trump administration, according to Rajoub. Still, he said, “Abu Mazen’s position is clear,” referring to the nom de guerre of Abbas. “If Trump says ‘Jerusalem won’t be on the table,’ Trump himself won’t be at the table, and we won’t sit by ourselves with the Americans.”

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