Land Day was commemorated both across historic Palestine and internationally on the 30th of March. Protests in support of Palestinians where held in the Canary Islands, Brazil and New York, to single out a few locations.
In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Palestine Community of the Canary Islands along with al-Zeitun and the Women of Peace Action and Solidarity with Palestine organized actions protesting the occupation of the Palestinian homeland and showing solidarity with those struggling across historic Palestine. The Spanish Solidarity Network Against the Occupation of Palestine supported the call by providing hundreds of posters for the event.
Hundreds of people, among them Palestinians from the diaspora, came out to show support, forming a human chain along one of the largest streets in the city. They denounced the systematic theft and colonization of Palestinian land by the Occupation government and called for an end to the massacres in Gaza. Demonstrators voiced support for the demolition of the Apartheid Wall, the freeing of political prisoners and the return of the refugees.
Support was also demonstrated for the BDS movement. Banners and posters displayed slogans demanding an end to the preferential treatment given to Israel in the sale of weapons, suspending of diplomatic and cultural relations, and denying entry to the Occupation state in European bodies such as the OECD. The people also reminded the Spanish government of its responsibility to enforce international law.
***image1***A similar popular demonstration took place in the Brazilian city of San Paulo, organized by ComitÃª de Solidariedade aos Povos Ãrabes and other organizations. Here too the people called for an end to the siege of Gaza and expressed support of the Palestinian liberation struggle.
Protestors moved through the streets of San Paulo, carrying banners and Palestinian flags. One message echoed Occupation minister Matan Vilnai threat to the people of Gaza, calling for a stop to the holocaust against the Palestinian people. In support of Palestinian culture, activists also danced dabka at the end of the march. The Brazilian solidarity movement has been strong in its support of BDS, using Land Day as another opportunity to oppose the free trade agreement between the Mercosur and Israel.
In New York, activists continued their strong campaign against Lev Leviev. 40 New Yorkers marked Land Day with the eighth protest at the Madison Avenue jewelry store of the Israeli billionaire. The protest included songs, theater and testimonials from villages threatened by Levievâs settlements.
In what has been a creative campaign against the store, protestors sang a parody version of folk icon Woody Guthrieâs âThis Land Is Your Landâ entitled, âThis Landâs not Levâs Landâ and enacted theater depicting Israeli soldiers attempting to force peaceful Palestinian protesters off their land. The theater was accompanied by Palestinian testimonies from 1948 to present, emphasizing the continuity of Israeli efforts to displace Palestinians.
Adalah- NY press release
New Yorkers protest Leviev’s Israeli settlements, commemorating Palestinian “Land Day”
New York, NY, March 29 â Forty New Yorkers commemorated the Palestinian national holiday Land Day Saturday with the eighth protest at the Madison Avenue jewelry store of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. The protest included songs, theater and testimonials from villages threatened by Levievâs settlements. Land Day marks Palestinians’ ties to their land, in defiance of Israeli efforts to displace them.
“We targeted Levievâs New York store on Land Day because his companies have recently built Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in at least four different locations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank,” said Issa Mikel, a spokesperson for Adalah-NY. “He has also financed the Land Redemption Fund, a settler organization accused of using fraud to secure Palestinian land for settlement construction.”
Land Day protests are being held in Palestinian towns throughout Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this weekend. Land Day has been commemorated annually on March 30 since 1976, marking the day when six Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in their villages in the Galilee in northern Israel during protests against the confiscation of their land for Jewish settlements.
New York protesters sang a parody version of Woody Guthrieâs âThis Land Is Your Landâ entitled, âThis Landâs not Levâs Landâ, with lyrics including:
âOn this yearâs Land Day, we want Lev to pay, For all heâs stolen, to make his millions,
From Angolaâs miners, to Bilâin and Jayous, We wonât stop âtil everyone is free!â
The protest featured theater depicting Israeli soldiers attempting to force peaceful Palestinian protesters off their land. The Palestinian villagers ultimately marched through the soldiersâ lines, and broke through the wall, reclaiming their land. The theater was accompanied by Palestinian testimonies from 1948 to present, emphasizing the continuity of Israeli efforts to displace Palestinians. The narratives tied the Nakbah, or Catastrophe, in 1948, when 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages, to Land Day, and to the present settlements built by Levievâs companies that are destroying Palestinian villages.
In one excerpt, Sharif Omar, from the West Bank village of Jayyous where Levievâs company Leader is building a settlement on village farmland, explained, âLast September I was working in my olive grove near the wall, when I came across uprooted olive trees coming out of the bulldozed ground. These green young branches are soft and beautiful, deeply rooted in the ground and stronger than the wall and bulldozers. These trees refuse to die or to surrender, and send a message to all farmers and people who love the land. âDo not give up, and keep struggling and one day you will touch the sun.â We have been here longer than these trees, and we will stay here longer than the stones.â
Levievâs company Africa-Israel was established in 1934 as Africa Palestine Investments Ltd. by a group of Jewish investors from South Africa to acquire and develop real estate for Jewish settlement in Israel. Its name was changed to Africa-Israel in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “Itâs important to see current illegal land theft by Israel, of which Leviev is a profiteer and ideological supporter, as part of a historical policy stretching back decades,â explained Ethan Heitner, a spokesperson for Adalah-NY. âThat’s the point we wanted to convey today.”
In Angola, Leviev works closely with the repressive Dos Santos regime to mine and sell the country’s diamonds, and he employs the private security firm K&P Mineira, which has been accused of torturing, sexually abusing and even murdering Angolans. In New York, Leviev and his former partner Shaya Boymelgreen came under fire for employing underpaid, non-union workers in hazardous conditions in their development schemes. This month, the New York City Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order at the Leviev-owned Met Life Clocktower, allegedly for building without permits.
For oral histories from the Nakbah in 1948, Land Day in 1976 and Leviev’s companies’ current settlement construction: https://adalahny.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=183
For protest photos: www.adalahny.org