Palestine’s Land Day

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SHAFAQNA – The 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their houses, towns, and cities is ongoing.

Every March 30th since 1976 Palestinians commemorate Land Day to honor their struggle to hold on to their land and to their national identity in an increasingly hostile context.

Historically, Land Day remembers the day when Israeli soldiers shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were protesting the expropriation of roughly 2,000 hectares of privately-owned Palestinian land in the Galilee to build Jewish communities.

On that day Palestinians within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev, in the West Bank, Gaza and in refugee camps held strikes and street protests against the confiscation.

Today, Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank continue to struggle to maintain ownership of their land, and Palestinian refugees continue to be denied their right to return while Jewish people from around the world, with no connection to the land, can claim citizenship and settle in Israel or in Jewish settlements of the West Bank.

This year, the entire Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in Southern Israel is scheduled to be destroyed between April 15 and 29. The Jewish community of Hiran will be built on its ruins. The destruction of Umm al-Hiran will displace at least 350 Palestinians

In the Jerusalem governorate of the West Bank, the Bedouin town of Khan al-Ahmar is also facing demolition. The area where the Bedouin enclave has historically existed has been surrounded by two Jewish settlements, Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. Maale Adumim is one of Israel’s largest settlements in the West Bank; plans to connect it to the occupied city of Jerusalem has warranted new threats of displacement for Bedouins.

Furthermore, recent declarations of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel is another reminder that the 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their houses, towns, and cities is ongoing.

For these and other reasons, Friday an estimated 100,000 Palestinians will commemorate Land Day by installing tent cities in the border between Gaza and Israel. Israeli occupation forces have already announced they are deploying sharpshooters in response to the protest.

 

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