Palestinians commemorate 40th anniversary of Land Day

Palestinians commemorate Land Day, remembering six Palestinians who were killed and hundreds who were wounded by Israeli forces 40 years ago, during a protest against illegal land seizures

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Palestinian man plants an olive seedling to commemorate the lives lost on Land Day, near the Israeli border with central Gaza Strip, March 30, 2016.

Palestinians on Wednesday dressed up to commemorate "Land Day" to remember six Palestinian civilians who were killed and hundreds who were wounded by Israeli forces 40 years ago while protesting against the illegal seizure of their land in the northern Galilee region.

Thousands of Palestinians protested against the seizure of colossal lots of land equating to thousands of square kilometers on March 30 1976, of what is now controversially known as northern Israel, where Palestinians constitute an overwhelming majority.

Residents of the Galilee region responded to the seizure by declaring a general strike, which prompted Israeli troops to enter the region with excessive force and clash with frustrated Palestinians.

Mohammed Barakeh, chairman of the Supreme Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, told Anadolu Agency that Land Day demonstrations had been planned in several Arab villages in Israel.

"Palestinians will mark this year’s Land Day with massive demonstrations in the Arabeh Village in Galilee and in the Um al-Hayran village in southern Israel," Barakeh said.

"After 40 years of crimes against our people in the Galilee, we are still holding marches to deliver the message that we will remain on our land and that we will not leave," he added.

Palestinians will mark the occasion by holding demonstrations in areas threatened by fresh land confiscations in the Israeli occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip.

"We’re here to stand with our people [who were expelled from their land in] 1948, as we always have," Salah al-Khawaja, coordinator of the Popular Committee against Settlements, told Anadolu Agency.

"Today we will mark the day when our people stood up to Israel's attempt to steal their land," he said.

"Numerous events and demonstrations will be held in the West Bank and Gaza City to remind Israel that we still stand united against occupation," he added.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel has seized 85 percent - some 27,000 square kilometers - of the land of historic Palestine since the Jewish state was controversially established in 1948.

International law considers the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be "occupied territories" captured by Israel in 1967, deeming all construction of Jewish settlements on the land to be illegal.

Israel continues to breach international law by illegally seizing Palestinian land in the West Bank on which it has steadily continued to build Jewish-only settlements.

TRTWorld, AA