UPDATED: The coalition of local Houston organizations held a peaceful motorcade rally on Saturday in opposition to Israel’s new efforts to annex the Palestinian land.
The almost mile-long caravan seated attendees as it passed through the city. Participants were provided the route and Whatsapp group link, which was used to stay connected along the route, says a message shared with us.
Palestine protest, Houston, Tx
Over 150 cars with over 350 people rallied in a big parking lot for about an hour and then drove down a major Houston street taking up the right lane of traffic for miles. “We drove past the Israeli Consulate and then rallied back at the parking lot for closing speeches from the hosting organizations,” said a participant.
“We had a live internet radio stream playing music that everyone connected to in their cars via our custom website link. We provided live route updates on this radio as well.”
Attendees were from all over Texas, an independent observer says, and carried Palestinian flags, kuffiyehs, banners and posters voicing opposition to the annexation. One placard said, “Houston against annexation”. A participant held a poster which said, “US money feeds Israeli war crimes”.
In accordance with social distancing guidelines, the peaceful protest was incorporated with appropriate accommodations to ensure attendees and their families were safe, a participant said. “They wore masks, gloves, and used hand sanitizer, among other things, to ensure safe participation”.
The state has the fourth largest population of Arab Americans (157,000) out of 2.1 million people of Arabian ancestry living in the U.S. For many of them the Palestinian issue remains a household dinner table discussion.
The rally was a first in the state, and comes as Presidential election campaign heats up –polls will be held in the first week of November with President Trump seeking second term and former Vice President Joe Biden challenging him.
“The coalition plans to hold similar peace rallies in other cities also,” an Arab American resident of Texas said.
Much uncertainty however, remains around when, how – or even if – Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will push forward with annexation and what effect it could have.
Netanyahu, has proposed permanently seizing Palestinian territory by annexing swathes of the West Bank – a violation of international law. The Israeli leader has said he would also annex the Jordan Valley, which makes up to one-third of the West Bank and borders Jordan.
Foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan have urged Israel to abandon its plans, warning such action could have “consequences” for relations.
Annexing settlements in the occupied West Bank could have ‘consequences’ for relations, they said.
Last month, the head of the Arab League warned a high-level U.N. meeting that Israel’s annexation plans would inflame tensions and endanger peace in the Middle East, and could ignite “a religious war in and beyond our region.”
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organization, said annexation will also have “broader ramifications on the international security around the world.”
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