Palestinian people in the territories occupied in 1948, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in the diaspora, commemorated Land Day on March 30. Events marking that day go back to 1976, when Israeli authorities confiscated thousands of donums (1 donum = 900 m2) of land from Palestinians, particularly in the Galilee area.
It was back then that the Palestinian masses declared a general strike against the Zionist plan to take possession of Palestinian land. They non-violently challenged the Israeli authorities, who reacted in a brutal and severe way by sending army troops, backed up by tanks, to Palestinian villages to occupy their lands and to attack Palestinian civilians.
The events of the Land Day actually began on March 29 in the town of Der Hanna with a mass demonstration, which was repressed. Later, another protest demonstration took place in the village of Arraba, where Zionist reaction was even stronger. This resulted in the death of one Palestinian and dozens of wounded.
The news of the killing of the Palestinian prompted the expansion of demonstrations and protests in all of the Arab areas. During those two days of confrontations, six unarmed individuals were martyred.
Land Day is considered the period that evidences the clear contradiction between the Israeli authorities and the Palestinian Arab masses of the territories occupied in 1948. On one hand, the Zionists attempted to use repression to humiliate the indignant masses and to make them know that the Israelis were the owners of the land. On the other hand, the public Palestinian challenge to the occupation constituted the beginning of a new era of confrontation against the politics of confiscation.
Land Day directly contributed to unification within the ranks of Palestinians in the territories of 1948 to collectively face the state occupier, as they began to discover its racist character.
The battle for land did not simply culminate on March 30, rather, it continues even today. The practice of the robbery of our lands still plagues and hounds the Palestinian people. Plans for Israeli expansion seek to suffocate and block any possibility for development.
We are faced with a very difficult situation and a very complex stage in which racism is being fanned so as to snatch not only the land from us, but also our legal right to exist.
This is the moment for Palestinian unity and the end of division, which is the weak point in the national position. This is taken advantage of by Israel to execute their plans and to avoid assuming their commitment to reach a just accord. Such an agreement would contemplate the right to return, the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital over the territories occupied in 1967, by virtue of international resolutions, especially Resolution 181 of 1947.
Today we should stop, meditate and learn the lessons of the continual Zionist acts of aggression and of the most vile and racist plans against our fighting people, who are now represented by those of Gaza – the latest holocaust victims.
We are sure that the struggle will be intensified in the territories of 1948, and that a new intifada is close at hand in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
We should prepare ourselves with unity to face the daily advance of colonialism, given that not a single Palestinian village exists that has not been affected by the Wall of Racial Separation or by the establishments that surround the Palestinian population.
We should cease the negotiations with the Hebrew state until it puts an end to colonialism. In addition, we should include on the negotiation agenda the legitimate rights represented in the national principles: the independent state with a border, sovereignty over Jerusalem, and the right to return.
We insist on the necessity of Palestinian-Palestinian dialogue to achieve national unity that strengthens and deepens our right to resistance as a fundamental right, which must persists as long as the occupation exists.
Also necessary is official Arab unity and the end of the division, which favors a strategic position of unity that responds to the Palestinian interests and questions of the security of the Arab Nation. This can be carried out effectively by breaking with indifference in the face of the use of internationally prohibited weapons and the perpetration of Zionist crimes—including genocide— committed against civilians in the Gaza Strip. People and Arab governments should seriously press forward to take the criminal Israelis to the World Court. Testimonies should be taken from the soldiers of the Zionist occupation about the cruelties committed in the Gaza. A demand should also be made to the United Nations for the creation of a special and a provisional tribunal, like in the cases of Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia, so as to serve justice and to legally punish the Zionist offenders.