(photo credit: REUTERS)
Incensed by the controversial settlements regulation bill, which they deem a “manifestly illegal measure to seize privately owned Palestinian land,” dozens of activists are holding a demonstration of indefinite length outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.
Naftali Raz, a high school teacher and tour guide who organized the demonstration – which commenced on Thursday and will continue daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – described it as “much more than a protest.”
“It’s a group of people who are not part of any organization or party, who can’t stand that the government in Israel can lie, steal and beat the High Court of Justice,” said Raz, who said the group left early on Thursday due to cold weather.
“Every lawyer, including the attorney- general, tells them it is illegal, and yet they continue. We can’t stand it, and as a teacher for many, many years, I’m asked by former students of mine if they are now able to steal and lie just like the government did? And I have to say, I don’t know how to answer.”
According to Raz, the bill’s sponsors, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Bezalel Smotrich, both of Bayit Yehudi, “make no secret of their aim: the annexation of the West Bank, and perpetuation of the Israeli oppressive rule over the Palestinians.
“If this monstrosity is enacted into law, Israel’s Supreme Court is expected to annul it and declare it to be in violation of basic human and civil rights,” he said. “It might even come under the purview of the International Criminal Court at The Hague.”
Deeming the bill an “ugly blot on the Israeli legal code,” Raz said action must be taken immediately.
“So, we are coming to make our protest loud and clear,” he said. “We will stand in the streets of Jerusalem, holding aloft the sign: ‘No To The Land Theft Law! No To Annexation!,’ as well as Israel’s flag.”