Land Day 2018March 28, 2018, midnight
Israel will never break our ancestral bond with the land of Palestine
Prof./Amb. Manuel Hassassian
Every year Palestinians everywhere commemorate Land Day on 30th March. On this day an event took place which is emblematic of Israel’s aggressive land grab policies and oppression of the Palestinian people.
On 30th March 1976, Israeli occupying forces confiscated 21,000 square meters of Palestinian land in Galilee and the Naqab. This was land inside Israel, not in the occupied Palestinian territories, belonging to Palestinians supposedly enjoying equal rights to Israeli citizens. In the first major mobilisation of Palestinians inside Israel, hundreds demonstrated against this theft of their land. The protests were met with lethal force. Six demonstrators were shot dead by Israeli soldiers and over one hundred were injured and maimed.
Today the commemoration of Land Day resonates ever more deeply as it characterizes 50 years of Israel’s relentless escalation of violations of international law and international humanitarian law including its illegal confiscation of Palestinian land and Palestinian dispossession. Israel is engaging in systematic measures of ethnic cleansing with is persistent annexation of land to build and expand its illegal settlements, its demolition of Palestinian homes and the revocation of IDs of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.
Land Day has developed to become a symbolic way to protest against Israel’s slow motion annexation of Palestinian land – land that will form a future independent Palestinian state. Illegal Israeli settlers are changing the map in a brazen violation of international law.
Palestinian communities inside Israel, in the occupied Palestinian territories, in the refugee camps in the Middle East and in the wider diaspora commemorate Land Day to re-affirm their connection to their land with olive tree planting, with peaceful demonstrations and events asserting their ancestral traditions. It is also a way of reconnecting to their past as the indigenous people of Palestine, of reclaiming their hijacked history and re-asserting their organic and historic bond to the land of Palestine.