Thousands gather in Jericho on the West Bank to protest Israeli annexation plans, June 22, 2020.

Palestinians, Foreign Diplomats Demonstrate Against Israeli Annexation

The Palestinian Authority and the Fatah movement held a major rally on Monday in Jericho, the largest city in the Jordan Valley, on the West Bank, to protest against Israeli annexation plans. Thousands of people converged on Jericho for the rally, waving Palestinian flags and chanting “No to annexation.” A number of foreign dignitaries attended the demonstration and conveyed their governments’ opposition to the annexation plan, including UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov; the EU’s envoy to the PA, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff; Chinese Ambassador to Palestine Guo Wei; Jordanian Ambassador to Palestine Khaled Shawabkeh; British Consul-General to Jerusalem Philip Hall; and Russia’s representative to the PA, Aydar Aganin.

Mladenov said that “implementation of the annexation plan will destroy the Palestinian dream of statehood” and that “the annexation process is against international law.”

Von Burgsdorff also said the annexation plan “violates international law” and warned that it would have “consequences for the relations between the European Union and Israel.”

Palestinians accused Israeli forces of preventing dozens of buses carrying demonstrators from reaching the site of the rally in Jericho.

The rally comes against the backdrop of a recent spike in coronavirus cases. On Monday, 142 new cases of COVID-19 infection were recorded in the Palestinian territories, most of them in the southern West Bank, around the city of Hebron. Despite calls to cancel the event, the PA went ahead with it. The vast majority of participants wore facemasks to prevent the spread of the virus but social distancing regulations were widely ignored.

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