Former US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders yesterday called Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank “illegal” and urged for action to be taken to stop them.
In a recorded message aired during a rally against the annexation plans in Tel Aviv, Sanders said: “It has never been more important to fight for justice, and stand up for the future we all deserve.”
“I am extremely heartened to see so many of you, Arabs and Jews alike, are standing together tonight for peace, justice and democracy.”
“It’s up to all of us to stand up to authoritarian leaders and work together to build a peaceful future for every Palestinian, and every Israeli. Like you, I believe that the future of every Palestinian and Israeli and intertwined, and that all of your children deserve to live in safety, freedom and equality.”
“In order for that to happen, any plans to illegally annex any part of the West Bank must be stopped.”
Thousands of Arabs and Jews joined the protest on Saturday. The huge rally, which was initially banned by police over coronavirus fears, saw high profile speakers including Joint List’s Ayman Odeh addressing the crowds.
Joint List leader Odeh said: “We are at a crossroads. One path leads to a joint society with a real democracy, civil and national equality for Arab citizens … The second path leads to hatred, violence, annexation and apartheid. We’re here in Rabin Square to pick the first path.”
He continued: “There is no such thing as democracy for Jews alone. Just like Martin Luther King and his supporters in the United States, we must realise that without justice there can be no peace. And there will be no social justice if we do not end the occupation.”
The rally, filled with Palestinian flags and ‘Palestinian Lives Matter’ placards, then laid down in an act of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, joining the world in condemning police brutality.
The US gave the green light to Israel’s annexation plans a few weeks ago, despite international bodies condemning the proposed move.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised the process of annexation will begin at the start of July, despite calls from the US to ‘slow the process’ down, much to the chagrin of extremist settlers, who have condemned pro-Israel US President Donald Trump as ‘no friend of Israel’, as his so-called peace plan allow for a Palestinian state, where they believe all Palestinian land should be taken for Israel.