On March 30, Palestinians and all peace-loving nations, who opt to see justice over oppression, stability over chaos and equality over discrimination; those who favored dignity and freedom over tyranny, injustice and colonization, gather to commemorate the Land Day.
This year, our commemoration coincides with two plagues; the first can be felt everywhere when COVID-19 pandemic struck every corner of this planet; while the second is exclusively experienced in Palestine which is the long-lived occupation pandemic, with its brutality and flagrant violations. Yet, Palestinians have always shown unprecedented determination and unique strength to remain steadfast in their legitimate aspirations. The significance of this day stems from two givens: the first is gravity of the tragic event when demonstrations broke out refusing Israel’s “Judaization of Galilee” discriminatory plan which aimed at the arbitrary expropriation of large tracts of Arab-owned land. The excessive use of force against unarmed peaceful demonstrators resulted in several deaths and injuries and hundreds of arrests. This incident is one of heroic epics that are engraved in the memory of all Palestinians, as they embody the depth and relentless attachment to the land. The second given is its resemblance of resistance and standing up against the enormity of injustice and egregious violations. It reflects a solid and sincere belief of the ethnic and cultural extension to all the civilizations who gained a foothold on the land of Palestine since the dawn of history. One might say that Palestinians, wherever they are and whatever their affiliation is, renew on this day their devotion to their cause and reassure their commitment and belonging to their homeland. This day does in fact demonstrate a special nature of the relationship between a person and his land, and an exceptional determination of a displaced refugee to return to where she or he belongs, no matter how much time elapses. On this day, Palestinians emphasize that they might be displaced or forced to leave, but they will never be uprooted.
In brief, this is another chapter of a long story of combination and determination, that is passed over from generation to generation; it is an inculcated verse of love to the land and a bittersweet tune of freedom and Liberation; To struggle, to study and to build; To resist, to cure, and to rebuild…. To sow, to plant, and to quench your land with your tears…When a simple optimistic dream can be your drive to cross impossible spheres…. To keep building when you are hurt and still in pain, and For dignity and freedom you are prepared to struggle again and again.
As we observe the Land Day through these critical moments, we rejuvenate our vow to remain persistent and committed to our right to self-determination until the realization of the state Palestine with Jerusalem as its eternal capital. Unbridled violence and draconian practices will do absolutely nothing but bolstering our unwavering loyalty to the land and defending the inalienable rights. On this occasion, we salute our supporters and fellow Palestinian sisters and brothers everywhere, for their courage and resilience in the face of all challenges. Our promise is to remain steadfast and to keep our hard work until realizing our national goals and legitimate aspirations. Let us renew the declaration of our undeterred adherence to our identity and land. Let us keep the Land Day immortal as a landmark in the history of the Palestinian struggle.
Numbers and Statistics
- Before the establishment of the occupation state, the Palestinians depended on agriculture, at a rate of approximately 70%, as a source of livelihood.
- The 1948 war led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages and cities.
- Between 1948 and 1972, the occupation confiscated more than a million dunams of lands from the Arab villages in the Galilee and the Triangle, in addition to the millions of other dunams it controlled after the 1948 Nakba.
- At the same time, Israel enacted the “absentee property” law, according to which it confiscated the lands of Palestinian refugees who were expelled or displaced due to the war.
- The story of Land Day goes back to the year 1976 when the Israeli occupation authorities confiscated about 21,000 dunams (a dunum is equivalent to one thousand square meters) for the implementation of a project called “Galilee Development,” which was a complete process of Judaizing the region; an attempt that prompted the Palestinian people in the 1948 to revolt against this extremist and racist project.
- To respond to the decision, the Land Defense Committee convened on February 1, 1976 to hold an urgent meeting in Nazareth, which resulted in the announcement of a general strike on March 30 of the same year in protest of what had happened.
- The occupation forces took the initiative to respond aggressively to the protests and fired randomly at Palestinian protesters on the morning of the strike, which led to the killing of six Palestinians, and wounding dozens.
- Since that day (March 30, 1976), Palestinians at home and in the diaspora, and their supporters have commemorated Land Day, to renew their attachment to their occupied lands and the right of return.
- Many commemorate this day by planting olive trees in the lands that were bulldozed by Israel, in addition to reviving various activities such as the opening of exhibitions that include Palestinian heritage products and handicrafts.
- Since last year, with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual activities have intensified, and support and recall campaigns have been organized on social media.
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