PEOPLE in Oxford have protested against an Israeli plan to officially annex parts of Palestinian land.

The protesters went out in Bonn Square in central Oxford yesterday to raise awareness of the plan and encourage local people to oppose it.

One woman carried a placard saying 'End Israeli Apartheid', and another brandished a small cardboard sign simply saying 'sanctions now'.

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It comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently announced a plan to officially annex parts of the Palestinian territory the West Bank.

Israel was created in 1948 on land that was previously the British Mandate of Palestine.

It was intended to be a state for Jewish people.

The West Bank was at that time was part of neighbouring country Jordan, and was largely occupied by Palestinians who had lived in what was the British Mandate of Palestine.  

Oxford Mail:

Picture: John Walker

However in the 1967 Middle East war, Israel seized the West Bank from Jordan, and has occupied it ever since, which is why it is known as 'an occupied territory'.

It has also built more than 210 settlements in the territory, despite international condemnation, and the international community largely considers these settlements to be illegal.

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Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to official annex parts of this land take it a step closer to being an official part of Israel, despite the fact this would largely be considered illegal.

Boris Johnson has urged Israel not to annex the Palestinian land, warning the move would be illegal and jeopardise relations in the Middle East.

The Prime Minister on Wednesday vowed not to recognise any change to the border if the plan, met with extensive international condemnation, goes ahead.

Oxford Mail:

Picture: John Walker

Mr Johnson warned Mr Netanyahu against the move which he said he learned 'with sadness' as a 'life-long friend' of Israel.

"Annexation would put in jeopardy the progress that Israel has made in improving relationships with the Arab and Muslim world," the Prime Minister wrote in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

"But however strong their interest in a different kind of relationship with Israel, annexation would inevitably set back these opportunities and constrain potential Arab partners. Israel's enemies would seize upon it, and use it against those in the Middle East who want to see progress.

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"Annexation would represent a violation of international law. It would also be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories about Israel.

"I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the UK will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties."

Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel's foreign minister, said Mr Netanyahu's plan would not begin on its target date of Wednesday.

Mr Netanyahu had earlier signalled a delay, saying the plan would begin "in the coming days".

The UN secretary-general, the EU and key Arab nations have all said the annexation would violate international law and undermine the goal of creating a viable independent Palestine state alongside Israel.