Palestinians mark Land Day, protesting Israeli theft
of their land
On land day,
Israeli occupation forces crackdown on demonstrators in West Bank
Sunday March 30, 2008 15:15 by Rami Almeghari -
IMEMC & Agencies
The Israeli occupation army forces cracked down
on Sunday on demonstrators in the West Bank cities, marking the Land Day
Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators in various West Bank cities,
including Bethlehem and Nablus took to the streets, marking the Land Day
anniversary, a Palestinian national occasion remembered annually by
crowds of Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel and the
In Bethlehem city, local Palestinian sources said that the Israeli
occupation army soldiers attacked demonstrators with rifle buttons and
whips, causing the injury of four of them.
The sources added that the demonstration came in protest of the
continued Israeli confiscation of Palestinian-owned farm lands for the
construction of a separation barrier, Palestinians dub as ' Apartheid
Meanwhile, Israeli occupation soldiers responded with tear gas canisters
against a similar demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus,
arresting a number of demonstrators including a university student.
Dalal Salama, head of the Nablus-based Palestinian Women Union, said
that today's rally sent out a message of determination to continue
non-violent resistance for the best of removing hundreds of Israeli
occupation checkpoints, which hamper locals' movement.
A sign, placed near an army checkpoint read "we are sticking to our
legitimate rights to freedom, justice and peace, despite the checkpoints
and siege ".
Members of civil society organizations in the Palestinian city also took
part in the Land Day rally.
In 1976, the Israeli occupation authorities expropriated thousands of
acres of Palestinian-owned lands inside Israel '48 Arab lands or the
green line', sparking large-scale protests inside Arab-Palestinian
communities and leading to the death of 6 Palestinians.
Since then, Palestinians everywhere, mark the anniversary as a sign of
commitment to their right to Palestinian lands, which Israel took over
in 1948, displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Palestinians mark Land Day, protesting
Israeli theft of territory
Date: 30 / 03 / 2008 Time: 13:55
Nablus – Ma'an –
Palestinians took to the streets across the West
Bank and Israel to commemorate Land Day this weekend, in protest of
ongoing Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land through settlement
expansion and the construction of the separation wall.
Land Day marks the anniversary of the killing of six demonstrators by
the Israeli security forces in 1976. Palestinian citizens of Israel held
demonstrations across the country to protest the expropriation of their
lands by the Israeli government. Israeli forces fired on unarmed
demonstrators in the town of Sakhnin. Rallies marking the killings
spread from the interior of Israel to the occupied territories.
"The land issue is the same, whether in the West Bank, Israel,
Jerusalem, or Gaza," said Samer Jaber, who organized a 400 person
demonstration in the town of Al-Khadr, near Bethlehem, where he says the
Israeli separation wall will result in the de facto annexation of 90% of
the town's land.
"It's the same situation: annexation through changing the identity and
demography of the land [through settlement]… We need a new identity
based on living together," he added.
Al-Khadr held its Land Day march on Friday, beginning with a Muslim
prayer service on the road leading to the construction site of the
Israeli wall, and then marching to a barbed wire roadblock set up by
Israeli soldiers to block the demonstration.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), more
than 475,000 Israelis live in settlements built on occupied Palestinian
land in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israeli settlers' councils control
42% of West Bank land, not including Jerusalem, which is home to the
bulk of the settlers.
The Israeli separation wall has resulted in the confiscation of 47,900
dunams (one dunam is 1,000 square meters) of Palestinian land, and the
isolation of 301,100 more dunams between the wall and the Green Line,
where 44,273, PCBS reports.
Israeli soldiers denied access to a member of Israeli Knesset, Dov Hanin
from the left-wing Hadash party, who attempted to travel to Al-Khadr to
join the demonstration.
"I arrived on Friday morning at the Israeli military checkpoint near Al-Khadr
… I received an invitation from the popular committee in the town, yet I
was surprised that when I told the troops I was a Knesset member, they
refused to let me in," Hanin said in a statement.
He added, "What I faced on Friday morning is part of the circumstances
in the Palestinian territories which I know pretty well, and this
enhances my belief that ending occupation is inevitable."
In the village of Al-Ma'sara, south of the Bethlehem, Palestinians
demonstrated against the construction of the separation wall on the
The Popular Committee for resisting the wall told Ma'an that Israeli
troops attacked demonstrators with clubs and rifle butts, injuring at
least four people.
The main Land Day march was held in the city of Jaffa, on the Israeli
coast, on Saturday. Protests were also held in unrecognized Bedouin
villages in the Negev desert.
In the city of Nablus Israeli forces dispersed a demonstration at
Huwwara checkpoint at noon using tear gas and sonic bombs. Huwwara,
which separates Nablus from nearby Ramallah, is known as one of the most
constricting West Bank checkpoints, subjecting Palestinian travelers to
long and sometimes humiliating searches.
Israeli soldiers forcibly blocked the protesters from reaching the
checkpoint. The soldiers detained a student named Alaa' Deriyya and
another young Palestinian man who could not be identified. Deriyya
remains in custody while the other was released shortly after arrest.
Demonstrators raised posters with slogans calling for Palestinian unity
and for the removal of Israeli military checkpoints.
Dalal Salamah, head of the union of Palestinian women, told Ma'an's
Nablus correspondent that the rally is a form peaceful resistance aimed
at pressuring Israel to dismantle the checkpoints.
Several Palestinian civil society organizations sponsored the rally.
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