Land Day: Palestinians Across West Bank Rise Up in Struggle For Land, Rights and Freedom
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Land Day: Palestinians Across West Bank Rise Up in Struggle For Land, Rights and Freedom

On the 30th memorial of Land Day – the day 6 Palestinians in the Galilee were massacred defending their land from confiscation – the popular committees against the Apartheid Wall, together with numerous other organizations, escalated their resistance against the continued colonization and land theft. From Jenin to Hebron, thousands of people confronted the Occupation with a renewed sense of determination to continue our struggle for liberation, land and rights.

***image3***The loss of almost all agricultural lands in the West Bank via the Apartheid Wall, and the expanding settlement infrastructure, will decimate Palestinian livelihoods and devastate the social structure of their farming communities. The international community – coordinated from Washington by the World Bank – plan to reduce tens of thousand of disenfranchised Palestinians to cheap labour for industrial zones built around the Wall. However, land day demonstrations revealed that any attempts to make the Wall and the Occupation viable and permanent, will fail.

The planting of olive trees on confiscated lands played a central part of many of the protests, underlining the roots and ties between the people and their land. Palestinians know that their capacity for self-sufficiency and livelihood will be the key that will allow them to lead the struggle towards liberation.

The struggle on the ground:

In Beit Sira, some 1000 protestors from the village – and the wider Ramallah district -gathered in a powerful march towards the lands being devastated by the Occupation’s bulldozers for the Apartheid Wall. In memory of the sacrifices made during over 50 years of struggle, speeches were made vowing continued resistance until the Wall falls. Symbolically, olive trees were planted to demonstrate the determination of the people not to surrender their lands. Shortly after, clashes broke out and the brutal aggression of the Occupation Forces left Firas Awad with serious injuries to the head.

In Aqaba, in the northern Jordan Valley, around 1000 people attended a popular gathering. Resistance songs and speeches strengthened the struggle of the people in the village, in which the major institutions and numerous homes lie under threat from immediate demolition. Against the Zionist plan to ethnically cleanse the Jordan Valley, villagers vowed to continue all forms of resistance to ensure the survival of their community in their land.

In Rafat (Salfit district), hundreds of villagers were joined by protestors from surrounding villages, and they marched united from the school to the hill west of the village. Here Occupation bulldozers uproot the village trees on a daily basis. The Apartheid Wall will imprison Rafat with two other villages, making one isolated ghetto. On the lands devastated by the Occupation, the people held speeches declaring that they would never give up their land and struggle for liberation. Subsequent clashes broke out as the Occupation pumped tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs into the crowd. Abd as-Salam Ayyash was hospitalized after being hit by a tear gas canister.

In Jayyous (Qalqiliya district), women and youth were at the forefront of a demonstration that marched to the gate of the Wall that cuts off the agricultural lands north of the village. Challenging the Occupation, the youth tore down the fencing and razor wire structures, and passed on the other side and onto their lands. A heavy military attack against the youth dispersed the protest with the Occupation announcing the closure of the gate for the next three days.

In Aboud (Ramallah district), Palestinians gathered once again on the lands confiscated by the Wall, west of the village. The area had not been farmed until now, as it bears ancient ruins of the village. On Land Day, the people decided to cultivate the land with olives, in defiance of the Zionist plans to isolate it from the village and to annex it.

In Hebron, several days of activities culminated in a popular gathering lasting the whole afternoon. A packed hall listened to speeches underlining that the struggle begun so many years ago had to continue until Palestinians achieve justice and liberation. A presentation was screened to detail the devastating effects of the Wall and the Zionist plans and rationale behind its construction for the expansion of settlement infrastructure.

In Jericho, over 100 people gathered in a popular event that celebrated Palestinian resistance with speeches, national songs and dances. Calls were made against the Occupation’s project for the annexation and Judaization of the Jordan Valley, with further popular resistance promised.

In Bethlehem, some 100 people marched through the city that will lose almost all agricultural areas to the settlements and the Wall. Speeches were held to remember the sacrifice of Land Day and the Palestinian struggle, and to renew the commitment of the people to resistance against the Zionist plans of ghettoization and colonization.

In Zabda, the people from Jenin district gathered to march to the ghetto gate of the Apartheid Wall that isolates their lands. By the middle of next month, the Occupation will close off the lands with no further permits being issued. The protest culminated in the planting of olive trees in the lands confiscated for the construction of the Wall.

In Qalqiliya, Palestinians gathered in a demonstration that culminated in a symbolic event during which hundreds of seedlings were distributed to the farmers. The following day, the seedlings were to be planted in the lands behind the Wall. The Occupation has closed all gates in the entire district suffocating life and making access to farming land impossible.

***image2***Behind the cement blocks and high-tech checkpoints of the Wall, the Occupation attempts to stifle Palestinian determination to struggle for our rights and land. In complete economic dependency and physical isolation, the mere capacity of resistance from our people could be undermined. However, up and down the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians confronted the Occupation, its Wall and its settlements, making it clear that the struggle for liberation continues!