Palestine: Commemorating Land Day

March 30 is Land Day, on which Palestinians everywhere, but especially those within Israel, commemorate the day in 1976 when six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by the Israeli army and police during protests against land expropriation. The day has become a way to mark the struggle of the Palestinians to hold onto their land, when demonstrations take place as well as other events such as the planting of olive trees [Ar] – with an increasing focus on the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions. Palestinian and pro-Palestinian bloggers around the world have observed the occasion.

Land Day demonstration in the Old City of Hebron on 28 March 2009. Photo by Anne Paq.

Land Day demonstration in the Old City of Hebron on 28 March 2009. Photo by Anne Paq.

Yousef Abudayyeh gives us the names of the six people that were killed in 1976:

خديجة شواهنه , محسن طه ,خير ياسين، رجا أبو ريا , رأفت الزهيري وخضر خلايله
Khadija Shawahneh, Mohsin Taha, Kheir Yassin, Raja Abu Rayya, Ra’fat Al Zuheiry, and Khader Khalaileh

Bas7aky posts an image showing the names and photos of those who were killed, and quotes the poet Tawfiq Ziad:

في اللد , والرملة , والجليل هنا ..
على صدوركم , باقون كالجدار
وفي حلوقكم كقطعة الزجاج , كالصبار
وفي عيونكم زوبعة من نار هنا ..
على صدوركم , باقون كالجدار
Here in Al Ludd, Al Ramleh, and the Galilee
We shall remain like a wall upon your chest
And in your throat, like a shard of glass, a cactus thorn
And in your eyes, a sandstorm
We shall remain a wall upon your chest

Marcy Newman, an American activist who lives in Nablus in the West Bank, describes a trip she and some Palestinian friends from Dheisheh Refugee Camp near Bethlehem made to “1948 Palestine” (Israel) to visit sites connected with the events of 1976:

saturday late afternoon my friends from deheishe refugee camp headed out of the west bank, illegally, of course, to 1948 palestine. we felt that it was important to spend يوم الأرض (land day) in 1948 palestine in the places where the massacre took place in 1976. of course we would like to attend the demonstrations here [in Israel] tomorrow, but traveling with palestinians who are not permitted to travel freely in their land means that we cannot go to places which will have a heavy military presence. […] after we left saffuriyya we drove north to sakhnin, the palestinian city made famous for its resistance which we commemorate on land day.

Marcy has also posted photos of the monuments to those killed on Land Day in 1976.

Jonathan Cook has interviewed Dr Hatim Kanaaneh, who blogs at A Doctor in Galilee, and who was a witness to the events of 1976.

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