Various events were held throughout the Occupied Territories in the West Bank to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the glorious Land Day. Stop the Wall has implemented a number of group activities in these territories; such as the lands which are threatened by confiscation and which are subject to continuous attacks by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).
In Nablus the grassroots campaign organize a central activity on land threatened by confiscation near the Shavei Shomron settlement which was erected on the land of the villages of Sabastia, Amuriyah, Burka and Deir Sharaf, northeast of Nablus. These villages are continuously subjected to settler attacks on farmers and land is often contaminated with sewage. Hundreds of people from Sebastia and nearby villages marched to this area before they were besieged by the large forces of the Israeli army and dispersed by force. Dozens of people were injured and suffocated as soldiers let off a large number of gas canisters and one citizen was wounded in the hand by a rubber bullet. Some young demonstrators were also involved in a fight with Israeli soldiers and two young men were detained until the other demonstrators were able to liberate them.
In the Ya’bud area, west of Jenin, the national movement and Stop the Wall (STW) organized a march to the wall and confiscated lands to support the people on Land Day and in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike. The march started from the village of Umm Dar and Al-Khuljan “Village Council Al Rayyan”, and went along the wall of annexation to the villages. The people raised Palestinian flags, images of prisoners on hunger strike, placards and banners condemning the wall and settlement policy. Dozens of olive trees were also planted in areas close to the apartheid wall (which constitutes more than ten thousand acres of village land) with the participation of Anin village council, STW and village organizations.
In Salfit, STW implemented a voluntary activity to plant trees in the villages of Bruqin and Wade Qana, adjacent to the village land confiscated for the benefit of the Ariel settlement. However, they were prevented from reaching this land where the tree planting was scheduled by the occupation army. The village Bruqin, in the Salfit district, has been turned into a waste dump for the settlements Burkan and Ariel, which are linked by a sewage network and dump waste water into the village lands.
In Bethlehem the IOF suppressed a demonstration by dozens of Palestinians at the checkpoint located in the north of the city by firing tear gas and sound bombs to disperse the demonstrators. Similarly in Hebron, the occupation forces suppressed a demonstration to demand that the road between Hebron and the southern cities and towns be re-opened.
On Friday the 29th of March the IOF used tear gas and water cannons to suppress the weekly demonstration in Hebron to demand freedom of movement and the opening of the street connecting the city and the towns of Samu’, Adahriya and Fawwar refugee camp which has been closed by Israeli occupation for the last 12 years.
Dozens of Palestinian militants from different sites in Hebron and a number of international activists have performed Friday prayers and marched near the iron gate that closes off the main road leading to the towns south of Hebron in the area near the settlement of Haggai, to south of the city. The army began firing tear gas among protesters in case they approached the gate that blocks off the road and dozens of soldiers and border guards gathered to spray the protesters with stinking water.
The coordinator of STW in Hebron, Yusef Tmeyza said: “We declare that today marks Land Day and every day we stick to our land and our right to live in freedom and dignity. The repressive policies for dealing with aggressive occupation will not deter us nor will the settler’s aims to close the streets, confiscate our land and dump their waste water on our farmland.”
Izhak Al-Absi, an activist of the National Committee to Raise Barriers, said: “The protesters carried Palestinian flags and banners written in Arabic and English that declare our commitment to our land and condemn the closures. They chanted slogans about ending the occupation and the closure.”
The demonstrators announced they will continue their activities in the region every week until the road (that has been closed for about 12 years) is re-opened. This road closure has forced about 150 thousand residents of the south of Hebron to travel at least an extra 12 miles to reach their destinations inside the city.
In the same vein, on the 28th March the STW participated in events on the ground in Hebron. Dozens of activists planted trees and cleaned the cemetery on Shuhada Street, which was closed by the Israeli occupation after the massacre of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in 1994. Yusef Tmeyza said they will continue to expand events and increase efforts to resist the occupation and its expansionist policies.
In the village of Aqaba, Tubas district, STW organized an activity to revive the Land Day with the participation of tens of Palestinian youths. The head of the village council, Haj Sami Sadiq, received a solidarity delegation and explained to them the suffering of the village and the scale of the challenges and legal struggle faced by the residents to stop the ongoing Israeli attacks on the ground and the rights in this region.
Aqaba is considered a distinctive and successful model of Popular Resistance, especially after this tender submitted by the Haj Sami Sadiq, and although it has been hindered this village has been able to grow and develop in its struggle against the occupation. The village now contains a school and kindergarten, a mosque, a factory for packaging herbs, a feminist foundation, a study centre, a residence for foreigners and a charity concerned with the affairs of displaced people.
After a dialogue with the President of the village council and a visit to the village institutions the young people from the delegation planted 37 olive seedlings to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Land Day. The seedlings were a donation from the Agricultural Relief Society. Furthermore, they also put up posters to remember the martyrs who were killed in 1976 in occupied Palestine (1948 borders).