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St. Paul protests Israel’s threat to annex West Bank

By Kim DeFranco |
July 6, 2020
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Day of Rage marked in St Paul, MN.
Day of Rage marked in St Paul, MN. (Photo by Misty Rowan)

St. Paul, MN - On July 3, 55 people participated in Women Against Military Madness’ weekly vigil for Palestine. This week’s action was a joint call by both Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) and the Anti-War Committee (AWC) against the Israeli government’s decision to illegally annex more Palestinian land and was a part of the international call for a Day of Rage.

Wearing masks and being physically distant in the midst of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, protesters held signs reading, “No to Israeli theft of Palestinian lands,” and “Annexation is theft! End U.S. aid to Israel!” People were standing on all corners of the intersection holding signs, so they were very visible to drivers. People honked and waved to the sounds of chanters, “Hey hey ho ho annexation has to go!” and “What do we want? End aid to Israel! When do we want it? Now!”

Kristin Dooley, director of WAMM, welcomed the crowd, “We are glad to see so many people joining us today in condemning Israel's annexation plan. We are also here to condemn the continuation of U.S. aid to Israel which aids in the stealing and occupations of Palestinian lands.”

Israel’s annexation plan codifies the expropriation of Palestinian land and may secure Israeli sovereignty over 30% of the West Bank, including the border with Jordan called the Jordan Valley. Over 500,000 illegal settlers already live in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and annexation is Israel’s attempt to make these settlements officially a part of the state of Israel. This move would not be possible without the support, financially, militarily and diplomatically of the U.S. Historically both Democrats and Republicans have allowed Israel to commit war crimes against the Palestinians with impunity.

Despite Israel’s announcement that the annexation would occur on July 1, it didn’t happen. Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a member of the AWC explained to the crowd, “Regardless of whether the annexation happens or not, Israel is in de facto control of all of historical Palestine. I traveled to Palestine on a human rights delegation in 2002 and saw firsthand that the people of the West Bank live under brutal military occupation with arrests, assassinations and checkpoints as part of their daily life. I saw that the brave people of the Gaza Strip live under siege in the world’s largest open-air prison, squeezed from both sides on an uninhabitable plot of land. And I met with Palestinians in 1948 Palestine, what is now considered the ‘state of Israel.’ Palestinians inside Israel’s boundaries have lived under 72 years of apartheid, barely second-class citizens. The best visual I can give you is to imagine the Jim Crow South in the Middle East.”

WAMM and AWC pledged to continue to stand in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle against apartheid and occupation, including the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement being led by the Palestinian civil society organizations. The two groups have worked together to protest state of Minnesota investments from Israeli companies like Elbit Systems, which provides U.S. surveillance support with the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.