The Palestinian Authority on Sunday evening announced that it has decided to cancel a major rally planned for Tuesday in Ramallah to protest Israeli intentions to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank and US President Donald Trump’s Peace for Prosperity vision for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The cancellation of the rally was announced as part of new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the West Bank.
The new measures include lockdowns on four Palestinian cities for an additional four days and a ban on movement between all Palestinian cities for two weeks.
The planned rally, which would have been the second of its kind in the past three weeks, had been an indication of the Palestinian leadership’s belief that Israel has not abandoned its plan to extend sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.
On June 22, the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction held a big rally in Jericho to protest the Israeli annexation plan. Several foreign diplomats attended the event, including EU and UN officials who spoke out against the plan, arguing that it would be in breach of international law.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas had been originally scheduled to address the now-canceled Ramallah rally, said Majed al-Fityani, secretary-general of the Fatah “Revolutionary Council.”
Abbas, he said, “has been leading the campaign to confront Israeli-American schemes aiming to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”
According to Fityani, some 192 countries have expressed their support for Palestinian rejection of the Israeli annexation plan and Trump’s peace vision.
In addition to Abbas, several dignitaries from all around the world, including heads of state and former ministers, had also all been scheduled to deliver speeches at the rally, the Fatah official added, calling on the international community “to translate its positions into deeds and deter Israel from implementing its annexation plan.”
Another Fatah official, Raed Radwan, said preparations had been underway to hold the rally in Ramallah “under one banner and one voice” to reach a unified Palestinian position against the Israeli annexation plan. He did not say whether Hamas or other Palestinian groups had been invited to participate in the rally.
Earlier this month, Fatah and Hamas announced they have reached an agreement to work together to topple the annexation plan and Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” The announcement was made during a joint press interview, through videoconference, between Fatah’s Jibril Rajoub (from Ramallah) and Hamas’s Saleh Arouri (from Beirut).
In another sign of rapprochement between the two groups, Fatah and Hamas officials met in the Gaza Strip last week and discussed ways of devising a joint strategy for foiling the Israeli and US plans.
The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces, a coalition of various Palestinian groups, on Sunday called for wide participation in the Ramallah rally “under the Palestinian flag to thwart the annexation plan, end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said Abbas was continuing his political activity in the international arena to prevent Israel from carrying out its annexation plan.
“This activity aims to form an international coalition to stop the annexation and warn Israel of the repercussions,” he told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station. “Annexation is a war crime whose goal is to liquidate the [Palestinian] national project and destroy the chances of establishing an independent Palestinian state.”
Erekat stressed the importance of imposing political and economic sanctions on Israel if and when it proceeds with the annexation plan.
Meanwhile, the PA Ministry of Health announced that the death toll of Palestinians infected with the coronavirus has risen to 37 with the death of a 48-year-old man from Hebron on Sunday.
The ministry said 349 new confirmed coronavirus cases had been recorded over the past 24 hours in the West Bank, 166 of them in the Hebron area, 105 in the Jerusalem area and 49 in the Ramallah and El-Bireh area.
Sixteen Palestinian patients infected with the virus were currently receiving treatment in intensive-care units, while seven have been placed on respirators, the ministry said.