Anti-annexation protests gather thousands...where have we seen this recently?
The similarities between social situations in America and Israel continue to grow, as protests for change become the norm. In America, we continue to see both peaceful and violent protests for justice for the murder of George Floyd and a change in the racist policing system in cities nationwide. In Israel, thousands of protestors have gathered to protest annexation, with a shared message that "it's a war crime". Again, annexation is considered by most to be illegal under international law, and is being compared by many in the international community to modern apartheid. This is made even worse by the fact that dozens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank will not be given citizenship when annexed. About 6,000 demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv to protest annexation, calling for peace and democracy. The protest called out Defense minister Benny Gantz, the party leader of the other main Israeli political party, for giving in to Netanyahu's proposal and not standing up for democratic values.
After the protest was officially over, 5 protestors were arrested by police for disobeying orders to evacuate the area. This exact concept is occurring in American cities and has been for the last several days, as curfews are put in place both in major cities as well as suburbs and less populated areas. Knowing this, protestors make the sacrifice of being arrested for standing up for what they believe in. In America, that's structural change to our society and the way race is seen and treated. In Israel, however, that's preventing something that hasn't happened yet. At the protest in Tel Aviv, a journalist for Israeli newspaper Haaretz documenting the event was shown on video being violently thrown to the ground by police as onlookers shouted "he's a journalist" repeatedly in the background. Appelbaum, the journalist, showed no aggression toward police either, and yet they caused him physical and financial injury (significant damage to his equipment).
Despite all the ways the situations are similar, therefore, there is one difference that must be recognized. America's shortcomings and mistakes have already happened, and the majority of citizens want to fix them. In Israel, they are unmistakably coming July 1st. America is trying to make meaningful positive change, while Israel is trying to prevent a catastrophe that could permanently destroy Israeli democracy. This decision comes from the same Prime Minister that said he supported a 2-state solution just a decade ago. Annexing, as rightfully described by the crowd, affects both sides negatively, as while Palestinian rights are ignored, Israel will be engulfed in violence. And if not, continued annexation might mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, with Jews as the minority. This is the time to make change. Please visit the Make a Difference portion of our website to take 2 seconds of your time and look out for both Israelis and Palestinians by just writing your name.