Thousands of Israelis protested yesterday evening in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square against Israel’s decision to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.
Celebrities, activists, entrepreneurs and security experts were in attendance and delivered speeches, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The protest comes after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel to drop its annexation plans in a report stating it would be a “serious violation of international law”.
“I call upon Israel to abandon its annexation plans,” the UN chief says in the report, adding that such a move would “threaten efforts to advance regional peace”.
The Israeli government is planning to annex the occupied Jordan Valley and settlements in the West Bank on 1 July.
Palestinian estimates indicate that the Israeli annexation plan will cover more than 30 per cent of the West Bank.
“I hope that this voice of reason that is not only mine, it is echoing across the world, will be heard by the Israeli authorities and that annexation does not take place on July 1,” Guterres said.
Under US President Donald Trump’s Middle East ‘peace proposal’ which was unveiled in January, it is envisaged that the United States would recognise the Jewish settlements – built on Palestinian land – as part of Israel.
Palestinian leaders have completely rejected the initiative.
During the protest that saw almost 2,500 people, former intelligence chief of the Israeli army Amos Yadlin warned about the security risks that would follow the annexation.
According to the Jerusalem Post, he said that Israel is “on a path to a one-state solution, for two nationalities [Jewish and Arab]. Our goal is a country that is Jewish, democratic, safe, legitimate and ethical.”
“The only map we’ve seen so far which predicts what annexation will look like is a conceptual map which was a part of the Trump plan,” he said.
“I can assure you, unilaterally annexing 30% of Judea and Samaria will not bring any strategic advantages – but it will bring with it grave security risks, international pressures and failures of legitimacy and morals,” he warned.