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LEADING Israeli and Palestinian activists joined an online meeting of trade unionists on Wednesday to galvanise opposition to Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank.
The rally was organised by Liberation, the anti-imperialist campaign group, in response to US President Donald Trump’s supposed “deal of the century” for the Middle East.
Participants urged the international community to ensure that UN resolutions on Palestine are respected, especially those in relation to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, the end to illegal settlements, the right for Palestinian self-determination and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn highlighted the level of opposition to annexation that existed throughout the world.
“Opposition around the world to the annexation is enormous. It has united a very wide range of politicians across western Europe and across the House of Commons,” he told the meeting.
“I supported a letter signed by well over 100 members of the British Parliament which is signed by thousands across Europe and there is huge opposition within the US as well.”
World Peace Council vice-president and Palestine Committee for Peace and Solidarity secretary Dr Aqel Taqaz described how the recent escalation, initiated by the Israel-US alliance, stemmed from the “core issue” of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
“Trump has completely disregarded international agreements, protocols and laws by offering his full and unconditional support to Israel,” he said.
“Make no mistake, annexation would constitute the final nail in the coffin for the Palestinian people’s dream of statehood and self-determination. It would essentially eradicate the possibility of a two-state solution.
“With the illegal settlements there is little space, but with annexation there is no space whatsoever for any state. Any Palestinian entity will be physically surrounded by Israel, cutting off the connection with Jordan and signifying perpetual occupation. No Palestinian could possibly countenance this.
“It would also mean the perpetual threat of general war in the region. When we say that there is no peace in Palestine, we mean there is no peace in the whole Middle East, as it is a core issue throughout the region.”
Joint List and Hadash Knesset Member Dr Ofer Cassif said: “We all know that this occupation is first and foremost illegal, as far as international law and conventions are concerned, and violates the UN Charter.
“Israel has been doing this not just since the Nakba in 1948, but even worse since 1967. Things have been going from bad to worse, with the burning of trees, bombardments, denial of water and shooting of protesters.
“The Israeli government has been pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing, especially in the last few years.
“Israel has turned itself into an apartheid state which is even worse than the one that existed in South Africa.”
Both Mr Taqaz and Dr Cassif emphasised the high levels of co-operation between Palestinian and Israeli peace and anti-occupation activists.
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