The rally took place at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday evening under the banner of “No to annexation, no to occupation, yes to peace and democracy" under the watchful eyes of security forces.
Police initially sought to block the demonstration over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but backtracked after meeting with organizers of the event.Wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines, many of the protesters waved national Palestinian flags.
They also held signs reading, "No Democracy with Apartheid" and “Palestinian Lives Matter,” a nod to America’s Black Lives Matter movement.
Several participants held up pictures of Iyad Halak, an unarmed Palestinian autistic man who was shot dead by Israeli police in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City last week.
The protest was organized by Israel's Meretz party and the Hadash faction of the majority-Arab Joint List, along with rights groups.
Israeli lawmaker Nitzan Horowitz, the head of Meretz, told the crowd that the annexation scheme would be a “war crime" and bring about "bloodshed".
“We cannot replace an occupation of dozens of years with an apartheid that will last forever,” he said. “Annexation is a war crime, a crime against peace, a crime against humanity, a crime that will result in bloodshed.”
“You have no mandate to approve this apartheid. You have no mandate to bury peace,” he added, noting that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was being pushed to take the controversial measure by the “messianic” administration of US President Donald Trump.