Palestinians and solidarity activists mark Land Day
Palestinian living in Israel are marking the 39th anniversary of Land Day by declaring a general strike in occupied Galilee, the Little Triangle Area and the Negev, in response to the Israeli plan to build settlements on 20,000 acres of land in Arraba, Deir Hanna and Sakhnin.
In 1975, the Land Defence Committee which was made up of 113 prominent national figures announced a strike against Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The Committee held a meeting on 18 October 1975 in Nazareth, which called on the Israeli government to go back on its plans for new settlements and for the first time declared a general strike on 30 March 1976.
The Israeli government then retaliated on March 29, 1976 by imposing curfews in in all Palestinian towns and villages and ramped up security at the access roads to Arab villages.
The increased number of police and soldiers led to clashes breaking out in Arraba, Sakhnin and Deir Hanna.
The first Palestinian out of the six who lost their lives in the clashes was Khair Yasin, killed by Israeli police in Arraba on the eve of Land Day. Scores of other Palestinians were injured in the fighting.
The next day the Israeli police and military killed five other Palestinians: Rajaa Abu Ria, Khader Khalaileh, Rafaat al-Zuheiri, Hassan Taha and Khadijeh Shawahneh.
Marches in Galilee and Negev
Today on the anniversary of Land Day Palestinians have organised two marches in Galilee and Negev in the cities of Deir Hanna and Rahat.
There are also other marches around occupied West Bank to mark the anniversary, even though the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel has not announced a general strike this year, which has angered many different groups in occupied Palestine.
Palestinians have called on the committee, political parties and movements representing Palestinians in the country, local authorities and all bodies, institutions and committees to assume their responsibilities and ramp up participation on Land Day.
At the end of last week there were various local events commemorating Land Day. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel led by Sheikh Raed Salah held its annual construction event in the Negev in a number of unrecognised villages.
The Nazareth local authorities said they intended to plant thousands of olive seedlings and residents of the Little Triangle Area organised a morning march to the areas of the new settlements.
Protestors will visit the graves of the victims of the Land Day in Sakhnin, Arraba and Deir Hanna today before the two official marches kick off from Deir Hanna and Rahat at 4 in the afternoon.
This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.