A Palestinian man protests in the village of Sawiya, near Nablus, against the Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank [Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]
Israeli forces on Wednesday came down heavily on dozens of Palestinians who attempted to join protest events staged in response to Israel’s threats to annex larger swathes of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
Local sources said Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian officials from reaching the Jordan Valley town of Fasayel to hold a work meeting north of the ancient city of Jericho in order to discuss projected responses to Israeli plans to annex the Jordan Valley.
At the same time, the Israeli military cracked down on Palestinians trying to get into the area to take part in an anti-annexation rally.
Israeli soldiers unleashed rubber-coated metal bullets and teargas grenades to disband the protesters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he plans to take steps to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley from 1 July, as part of the US’ so-called “peace plan” for the region.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is designated as occupied territory under international law. As a result, all Jewish settlements, as well as the planned annexation, are illegal.
Annexation is part of US President Donald Trump’s “peace plan” which was announced on 28 January. It refers to Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” and recognises Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank.