Israel: Fountain at Donald Trump Square turned blood-red in protest against annexation
The fountain of Donald Trump Square in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva was vandalised on Sunday evening, Israeli police said on Monday, with the water turned blood-red by activists who also sprayed graffiti reading “Annexation will cost us blood”.
The incident came two days before the official date when the Israeli government was expected to reveal its plans for unilateral annexation of around one-third of the occupied West Bank.
Israel's planned annexation of the Jordan Valley: Why it matters+ Show - Hide
The annexation of the Jordan Valley could effectively kill whatever hopes remain for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict as it would render completely impossible the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.
In April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached an agreement with his rival Benny Gantz to form a unity government that seek to impose Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. Legislature could be discussed from 1 July.
The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the occupied West Bank (almost 2,400 square kilometres), where 30 Israeli agricultural settlements house around 11,000 settlers.
Some 56,000 Palestinians also reside in the Jordan Valley, including in the city of Jericho, where their daily lives are deeply impacted by Israeli occupation policies.
The area is rich in minerals and agricultural soil and is a highly strategic area, as it lies along the Jordanian border.
Jordan, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and senior officials in the European Union openly oppose the annexation plan, while the administration of US President Donald Trump has encouraged such moves.
The coalition government, currently led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has claimed that its plan for annexation - a move deemed in violation of international law - is compatible with US President Donald Trump’s much criticised Israel-Palestine plan.
Revealed in January, the plan by Trump's pro-Israel administration proposes that Israel stakes permanent claims to one-third of the West Bank, while offering the Palestinian Authority limited sovereignty over disjointed patches of land for a Palestinian state.
Israeli police said it was investigating the incident in Petah Tikva. The identities of those who tampered with the fountain were not announced.
"The vandalisation of public property is a nefarious act, which must be ripped out by its roots,” Petah Tikva's mayor, Rami Greenberg, was quoted by Israeli media as saying.
Avi Berkowitz and Scott Leith, two special advisers to US President Trump, arrived on Monday in Israel.
The US has repeatedly said that annexation is an Israeli matter, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating last week that “decisions about Israelis extending sovereignty to those places are decisions for the Israelis to make”.
However, Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has reportedly asked Netanyahu to "greatly slow the process" of annexation as Washington struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak while facing nationwide protests over police brutality and racism.