Today, Israel killed at least 15 and injured over 1200 Palstinians in the Gaza Strip alone. More were injured in protests in the West Bank while Palestinian citizens of Israel have lead huge protests. These unprecedented Land Day protests are the Palestinian response of resistance to the ongoing Israeli ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestinian land and the US-Israel plan to solidify Israel’s grip on all of historic Palestine, just as the Nakba’s 70s anniversary draws closer.
In Gaza, tens of thousands marched to gather at tents set up close to Israel’s wall that besieges the tiny Strip. Tents have been erected at different points along the Wall where sit-ins are to be staged until May 15 – the anniversary of the Nakba.
Already days ago, Israel had announced it would deploy 100 snipers ready to kill the civilians in protest and has followed through with the planned and organised assassinations despite international warnings. Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International warned: “The authorities must refrain from using lethal force against protesters. Reports that the Israeli army has threatened to open fire on ‘anyone seen breaching the border’ are incredibly alarming. Under international law firearms can only be used to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious injury.”
In the West Bank, a dozen protests all over the occupied territory have been facing as well repression. Five have been injured by live bullets in Nabi Saleh and Deir Nizam, north of Ramallah. Injuries from rubber coated steel bullets have been reported in Beit Ummar, Hebron district. In many other places popular protests marched to the checkpoints or the apartheid Wall ripping through the people's land. In Ni’lin, protesters were able to reach the Wall and hoist Palestinian flags on top of it before soldiers were able to repress the protest.
Huge marches have been held as well in Deir Hanna, Sakhnin and Arabe. All major movement, political parties and local governments of the Palestinian citizens of Israel have come together to organise these protests.
This year was the 42nd anniversary of brutal shooting of six Palestinian citizens of Israel during mass protests against Israeli large scale land confiscation of their land. Since then March 30 every year is marked as Palestinian Land Day.
Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign explains:
“As Palestinians we know we are reaching a crucial point in our struggle. 70 years after the start of the Nakba, Israel supported by the US aim to finalize the demise of our aspirations for freedom, return and human rights. Israel’s escalation of brutality and the acceleration of its settlement project aim to force us all either out of our country or into walled-in ghettos. At the same time, Trump’s decision to first recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and then to announce the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem are a message that any Israeli violation of international law may be legitimised and pass uncensored.
“As Palestinians, we only have two options: either we surrender to a future in the ghettoes or we increase our popular struggle to make any normalisation of the status quo impossible. Today the people have given the answer – we will continue and strengthen our struggle until freedom, justice and equality is achieved.
“It is the time now for the international community to stand up and to forcefully ensure all those that plan, decide, implement and profit from Israeli crimes and violations of our rights are held accountable.“