Monday, April 1, 2013

The significance of Land Day
Exactly thirty-seven years ago, on 30th March 1976, the people of Palestine rose up against Israel's occupation of their land. After 28 years of living under curfews and restrictions on movement; oppression, terror and racism; impoverishment; seeing their land stolen from them and villages demolished inside the Zionist state as well as in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, they'd had enough.
The uprising took the shape of an all-out strike and massive public demonstrations in Israel, during which the security forces killed and terrorised the indigenous Palestinian population. The Israelis used live ammunition against the demonstrators and killed Khadija Shawahna, Raja Abu Rayya, Khader Khalayla, Khair Ahmed Yasin, Muhsen Taha, and Ra'afat Ali Zuhdi. Dozens more were wounded and three hundred were arrested.
What sparked-off the uprising? The Israeli authorities confiscated more than 5,000 acres of land belonging to the villagers of Arraba, Sakhnin, Dair Hanna, Arab Alsawaed and other areas to give to Jewish settlements as part of the government's plan to Judaise Galilee. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, because it is worth noting that between the creation of Israel on Palestinian land in 1948 and 1972 the Israeli government stole more than a quarter of a million acres of Arab land in Galilee and the Triangle alone, a cluster of Arab villages adjacent to the 1949 armistice line. This was in addition to the vast tracts of land taken by the Israelis after massacring Palestinians and ethnically cleansing historic Palestine in 1948.
What became known as the Land Day uprising did not take place at random; it was the result of the collective suffering of the Palestinians in their land occupied by mainly European Jews since the establishment of the state of Israel. When the Palestinians living under Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip joined in, Land Day became a national Palestinian event, a symbol of the people's unity inside the historic land and in the diaspora.
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