|This year marks the 46th anniversary of Land Day, which commemorates the events of March 30, 1976, when six Palestinians from Arab villages inside the Green Line were shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting the confiscation of 5,500 acres of land from the Galilee. Since then, Land Day has been commemorated by Palestinians inside Israel as well as in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem and around the world.
In Palestine, rallies and marches mark Land Day. In the towns where the six martyrs were killed 46 years ago, Palestinians lay wreaths at their graves.
Actions in support of Palestine are all the more important at this time when Zionists, aided and abetted by the US imperialists and their allies such as Britain, continue their violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinians as part of an overall programme of dispossession and genocide.
This year on the occasion of Land Day, Dr Ola Awad, President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), issued a statement in which she noted that Israel’s continuous confiscation of land from the Palestinians has resulted in Israeli control of 85 per cent of the total area of the lands of the historical Palestine. She also pointed out that the expansion of illegal settlements in Palestinian lands is accompanied by a growing number of violent attacks to displace the Palestinians. In 2021, 1,621 such attacks were recorded, up 49 per cent from 2020. The attacks included the uprooting, destroying and burning of 19,000 trees, 76 shootings, 30 levelling operations of citizens’ lands and burning, destroying or damaging cars and vehicles of 450 Palestinian citizens. She pointed out that since the beginning of 2021, settlers have established 10 new outposts for the seizure and control of Palestinian lands. The settlers carry out these attacks under the protection of the Israeli military.
Dr Awad pointed to the occupation’s ongoing practice of expanding settlements and demolishing Palestinian buildings under various pretexts, noting: “During 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities approved the construction of more than 12,000 settlement units, most of them in Jerusalem, at a time that the Israeli occupation authorities demolished more than 300 buildings and issued demolition orders for more than 200 Palestinian buildings… During 2021, the Israeli occupation demolished 1,058 buildings in Palestine (353 residential buildings and 705 establishments), in which 93 of them were self-demolition located mostly in Jerusalem governorate.
“Israeli occupation authorities during the year 2021, issued 875 orders associated with demolishing, construction and land reclamation halt in the West Bank and Jerusalem, of which 22 per cent [were] in Nablus Governorate, 15 per cent in Tubas and Northern Valley Governorate, and 14 per cent in Jerusalem Governorate, in addition to the destruction of many infrastructure sites that serve the Palestinians, including roads, water and sanitation networks.”
During the first eight months of 2021, Israeli authorities demolished 666 Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 958 people, a 38 percent increase compared to the same period in 2020, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Most buildings were demolished because they lacked building permits, which authorities make nearly impossible for Palestinians in these areas to obtain. In July, Israeli authorities razed, for the sixth time in less than a year, the homes of most residents of the Palestinian community of Khirbet Humsah in the Jordan Valley for being in a designated “firing zone”, displacing 70 people, 35 of them children.
Israeli authorities in late 2021 designated six prominent Palestinian civil society organisations as “terrorist” and “illegal”. These moves permit closing their offices, seizing their assets, and jailing their staff and supporters.
Meanwhile, the massive numbers of injuries, detentions and deaths due to the occupation and violent expansion of settlements continues to grow. The PCBS informs: “The number of Palestinian and Arab martyrs killed since the Nakba in 1948 and until [Land Day 2022] (inside and outside Palestine) reached about 100,000 martyrs. Moreover, the number of martyrs killed in Al-Aqsa Intifada between September 29, 2000, and December 31, 2021, was 11,310. It is said that the bloodiest year was 2014 with 2,240 Palestinian martyrs, 2,181 of them were from Gaza Strip during the war on Gaza. During 2021, the number of Palestinian martyrs reached 341, 87 of whom were children and 48 women, while the number of wounded Palestinians during the year 2020 reached about 12,500 in 2021.” By September 2021, there were 4,650 Palestinian detainees in the Israeli occupation prisons, 200 of them children and 40 women.
On the occasion of Land Day 2022, RCPB(ML) salutes the Palestinian people and their courage, resourcefulness and steadfast resistance to defend their right to be, and calls on the working class and people to step up their efforts to stand with Palestine.
Long Live the Just Struggle of the Palestinian People!