Palestinians rally to mark Land Day in Israel as displacements continue

Palestinians rally to mark Land Day in Israel as displacements continue
Land Day commemorates the events of 30 March 1976 when Palestinians stood up to Israel's seizure of their land.
3 min read
30 March, 2022
Palestinians in Israel and around the world commemorate Land Day every year on 30 March [Getty-file photo]

Palestinians held rallies in towns and villages across Israel to mark the 46th anniversary of Land Day on 30 March, as Israeli settlers and authorities continue to displace Palestinians in the Negev, East Jerusalem, and the occupied West Bank.

The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the body that represents Palestinian citizens of Israel, had called for a public march from Sakhnin to Arraba and to Deir Hanna in northern Israel, according to Wafa.

Thousands marched in the rallies, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting slogans.

Organisers were concerned that the rallies could be targeted by far-right Israeli mobs.

It follows three mass shootings in two weeks in Israel by alleged Palestinian assailants.

Despite the fears of attacks, Palestinians took to the streets to commemorate Land Day in towns such as Deir Hanna.

"We will not let the attackers dictate the agenda, we will continue with the events even if [participation] is limited," Kasem Salem, the town's mayor told Haaretz.

"We condemn the attacks, the assailants not only hurt innocent people, they also pour fuel on the incitement against Arab citizens ahead of Ramadan."

Land Day commemorates the events of 30 March 1976 when six Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli police while protesting the seizure of their land by Israeli authorities.

The moment marked a pivotal moment in the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as this was the first time since 1948 that Palestinians had collectively resisted Israeli policies.

The day has since been observed by Palestinians every year across the world.

Land Day this year is being observed in the shadow of an increasingly belligerent Israel, said Nejmeh Hijazi, the Arabic Communications Coordinator at Adalah, a human rights organisation and legal centre for Palestinians in Israel.

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"This year we are witnessing a significant increase in Israel aggression against us (Palestinians in Israel), in places like the Negev, in Sheikh Jarrah where they want to evacuate our houses, in all of Jerusalem, and in the rest of Israel," Hijazi told The New Arab.

"There are continuous home demolitions and an unprecedented campaign against us that we have not seen before."

Hijazi said Israeli authorities use "excuses" to steal Palestinian land across the country, terming it "displacement under the excuse of development".

"What is concerning is that the Israeli policy is to confiscate our land in the Negev, in Jerusalem, Galilee, and in Golan Heights under different excuses," she said.

"Sometimes it's for development, sometimes it’s to expand an area, but they harass the Palestinians there, they don’t give them space to expand or permission to build their homes. The policy is to restrict movement and the life of Palestinians and give power to the Israelis - they can live where they want and move where they want."

Israeli forces have displaced millions of Palestinian families from their homes since the country's creation in 1948 and continue to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.

Its systematic oppression of Palestinians has been described as "apartheid" by the UN’s Special Rapporteur for human rights, as well as human rights groups.