How Did the World React to Israel’s Annexation Plan?
By: Raneem Ghunaim/Arab America Contributing Writer
Ever since Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced on May 28, 2020, that he was committing to annexing parts of the West Bank in July, many Palestinians and people from all backgrounds began to take action. Realizing, that if this plan was to fully go through even more Palestinians would be at risk of losing their homes and families. More people began to stand with Palestine and many global protests took place. The heavy and surprising backlash that Israel faced, caused an unexpected delay in their annexation plans.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson along with other leaders of France, Germany, and the European Union urged Israel not to follow through with their plans to annex large parts of the West Bank. These leaders warned Israel not to follow through with the annexation plan because they predicted that if Israel did in fact go through with it they would face many negative political and economic consequences. The UK warned they would not accept the plans.
The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
“As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests. Annexation would represent a violation of international law. I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the UK will not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties,” Johnson wrote in Yediot Ahronoth. Aside from government officials, the local populations worldwide had a lot to say about the current situation. Although world leaders and governments may not always have Palestine’s best interest at heart, many of their people do. When annexation news broke, many protests occurred around the world. Here are some of the countries that stood with Palestine, countries, in this case, is referring to the people and not necessarily the governments.
Although the current U.S. administration heavily supports Israel’s annexation plans, its citizens are not of the same thinking. In almost all 50 states, protests against the injustices in Palestine took place. In Brooklyn, protestors took to the streets of New York where thousands of Palestinians call home. Many non-Arabs joined the protest as well. According to several sources, the protest was led and organized by the NY4Palestine coalition, which included many other organizations as well.
“There can’t be no Palestinian liberation without Black liberation!” declared Nerdeen Kiswani of WOL-UFP, who was at the opening rally. Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and American Muslims for Palestine are among the pro-Palestine groups who were organizing and leading the protests. New York was not the only state that showed its solidarity with the Palestinian community. Huge cities such as Chicago, San Diego, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and San Francisco stood for Palestine as well. Those cities also have substantial Arab populations.
Many people throughout the European countries also stood with Palestine. Some were of Arab origin, but many who joined simply wanted to stand against injustice. Regardless of their background, people came together and protested the unjust and cruel plan. Standing strong together in Toulouse, France, Spain, and other European countries protested against the planned annexation of parts of the West Bank. And the total annexation of the Jordan Valley region (which represents 30 percent of the West Bank) by the Netanyahu government.
Although no new information was reported about recent protests taking place in Arab countries; however, many remained at a high level of activism. Arabs worldwide flooded all social media platforms about the annexation plans and encouraged many non-Arabs to repost their messages as well. Those who were unable to join protests physically, they showed their support to Palestinians with their words and virtual actions. They listened to Palestinian voices and magnified them on their social media platforms. Though these actions may seem small, they are one of the main reasons news spreads so rapidly and potential change can occur.
Arabs worldwide sharing news, and spreading awareness were the key factors in encouraging people to protest globally.
Despite engagement on the streets and in social media, when it comes to Palestine, sadly, the governments of the world still go silent, and Palestinians suffering is ignored. Human rights are so often lauded around the world, but Palestinian human rights are often not acknowledged. Many innocent lives have been lost in the Palestine-Israel conflict, and many more are lost as each day goes by. Not to mention all the homes, schools, and hospitals that were destroyed and bombed by the IDF, while people were in them, to make room for illegal Israeli settlers.
What Does This All Mean?
The tragedy, death, and overall immoral and unjust stories of events in Palestine have been in the news, but little protest or action typically occurs on higher levels. Governments are afraid to publically denounce Israeli aggression, fearing the wrath of the U.S. and Israel.
Those who tried to speak up and spread awareness were often shut down quickly, especially those in Palestine. Many times, the IDF would target families and homes if someone spoke up about injustices. This unjust and corrupt system must be put to an end. This is why it is so important that the awareness and protests against the annexation plan must not fade out. People care about human rights and can force governments to make lasting and impactful changes. But this cannot happen without continued action and awareness through physical and social media protests!
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