Land Day 2021: Existence, Resistance, Resurgence

March 30, 2021

A child raising a Palestinian flag on Land Day. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

“In 2019 I went to Palestine twice,” wrote Ibtisam Barakat, “one time with Palestine Festival of literature in April.” When an officer informed her at the border that she didn’t exist in Israeli records, Barakat started to cry. She “cried for two weeks nonstop. Nothing and no one could stop [her], not even a delicious falafel sandwich.” All that time, recalled the Palestinian-American poet, she “ate falafel and cried.”

On Land Day 2021, Barakat’s words are more relevant than ever. Forty-five years ago, on March 30, 1976, Israeli police murdered six Palestinian protestors as they were calling attention to the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land. Since then, notes Yara Hawari, March 30 has been commemorated as Land Day.

An important “event in the Palestinian collective narrative,” explains Hawari, it incorporates resistance to colonization, in particular “colonial policies of erasure,” efforts by Israelis to erase all Indigenous presence on the land. Indeed, since 1948, Palestinians have defied those policies with characteristic sumud (resilience), both by holding fast to a collective narrative that incorporates individual perspectives.

When Barakat returned to Palestine, an officer asked why she was coming back a second time in one year. At the time, she had no idea how to reply. “Now,” she explains, she knows “the world was going to change and the universe knew that I needed to see Palestine twice in a year” before it became impossible. “Seeing my Palestine or not seeing my Palestine is a spiritual experience for me,” she says, thereby calling attention to her individual refusal to be erased that is in turn part of a collective experience.

On March 30, 2018, Palestinians in Gaza began a series of weekly demonstrations that would last for months, resulting in a staggering number of deaths and injuries from Israeli snipers that drew the attention of the media. What did not get covered so much were the cultural aspects of the rallies—storytelling, cooking traditional dishes, performing dabke, and even weddings took place—thereby passing down traditions to a younger generation.

“What is largely missing from the discussion on Gaza is the collective psychology behind this kind of mobilization,” writes Ramzy Baroud, “and why it is essential for hundreds of thousands of besieged people to rediscover their power and understand their true position, not as hapless victims, but as agents of change in their society.”

In the same way that Barkat worked through her grief at being told of her non-existence, so Palestinians on a collective scale have maintained a narrative that resists the official story. As Baroud explains,

“For 70 years, Palestinians have embarked on that journey of recreation of the self. They have resisted, and their resistance in all of its forms has molded a sense of collective unity, despite the numerous divisions that were erected among the people. The Great March of Return is the latest manifestation of the ongoing Palestinian resistance.”

Two years later, in 2020, the spread of Coronavirus added to ongoing problems. In order to provide a safe space to commemorate the day, Samidoun: Palestinian Solidarity Network issued a virtual call to action:

“Mark Palestine Land Day (Yawm Al-Ard), a day of remembrance for six Palestinian citizens who were murdered by Israelis while protesting the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunums of their land. March together online on the second anniversary of the Great March of Return.”

Thanks to donations from Russia and the UAE, Gaza recently initiated a vaccine program in an effort to confront the virus pandemic and break the cycle of deaths.

According to Hawari, Land Day commemorates ongoing resistance, but it also “reminds us how the domination of space is an integral aspect of the Zionist settler-colonial project.” Moreover, she points out, “settler-colonial states the world over are in a constant process of colonizing more and more indigenous land while squeezing indigenous peoples into as little space as possible.”

In order to steal more land, colonists in both Israel and North America developed the myth of the vacant land. For example, on March 8, 1969, Golda Meir reportedly asked: “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.”

Propaganda around the Indigenous in North America sounds much the same. As Steven Salaita tweeted: “you’ll never understand Zionism without a concomitant understanding of Manifest Destiny,” a phrase devised in 1845 to explain that the United States was destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its territory across the entire North American continent.

“Of all myths associated with American Indians,” explains Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes), “no myth is as pervasive as the myth of the vanishing Indian.”

In my American history classes, there would invariably be the student who said that Native people no longer exist, despite the fact that just by looking around the classroom that student might have reached a different conclusion. Nevertheless, because dominant society has been “indoctrinated with the idea of the vanishing Native their whole lives,” Gilio-Whitaker asserts, “the assumption that there is no such thing as real Natives anymore is like a software program constantly running in the background.”

To these deniers, the “real Indians were the ones who dressed in buckskins and hunted buffalo and deer for their living, and didn’t speak English,” Gilio-Whitaker notes, and, in reality, they have “been gone a long time.”

Despite all of the efforts to deny their existence, which makes it all the easier to steal land and resources, both Palestinians and Indigenous people in the States are still around. The commemoration of Land Day attests to that, as do efforts on the part of Native Americans to make their presence known.

Quoting Gerald Vizenor, a citizen of the White Earth Nation, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz calls attention to his notion of “survivance”:

“Survivance is an active presence: it is not absence, deracination, or ethnographic oblivion, and survivance is the continuance of narratives, not a mere reaction, however pertinent. Survivance stories are renunciations of dominance, the unbearable sentiments of tragedy, and the legacy of victimry” (An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, 2014, p. 217).

Decades after their displacement, the Palestinians long for a place, a homeland that could provide them with grounding to affirm that they exist. In the introduction to Nakba: Palestine, 1948 and The Claims of Memory (2007), Ahmad Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod write that “making memories public affirms identity, tames trauma, and asserts Palestinian political and moral claims to justice, redress, and the right to return” (p.2).

Memory, then, “continuance of narratives” as Vizenor calls it, serves as an expression of the need to officially exist. Manifested in events like Land Day, alternative histories affirm what happened in the past but also what should be done in the present to assure that all formerly oppressed peoples have a future.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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Land Day: Palestinians mark the 45th anniversary

Palestinian farmers say they face constant threats while working on family lands due to Israel’s annexation policies

Gaza farmer working on land MEE
Iyad Abughleiba, a Palestinian farmer, finds it increasingly difficult to work on his land in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s annexation policies. (MEE/Sanad Latifa)

By Maha Hussaini in Gaza Strip

Published date: 30 March 2021 12:22 UTC 

On 30 March 1976, six Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces as hundreds of Arab citizens in the occupied territory took to the streets to protest Israel’s expropriation and occupation of Palestinian lands.

The event became known as the Land Day and a symbol of national struggle that unites Palestinians around the world.

Forty-five years later, Palestinians say that not much has changed, as Israel continues its policy of annexation.

Middle East Eye met with Palestinian farmers and land owners in the Gaza Strip, who have been unable to access hundreds of dunums of land belonging to their families due to Israel’s restrictions and annexation policy.

Land theft normalised

Iyad Abughleiba, 49, a Palestinian who owns agricultural land in the eastern central Gaza Strip, says that farmers find it increasingly difficult to work in the blockaded enclave as Israel continues to “normalise land theft”.

Since age 15, he and his brothers would help their father cultivate the family lands. When his father passed away, the siblings inherited the lands and continued to work as farmers.

“My grandfather had owned more than 400 dunums of land. But over the years, and with every Israeli decision or new policy, the lands have been gradually shrinking. Today we only have 25 dunums left,” Abughleiba told MEE.

‘Our safety depends on the Israeli soldiers’ mood. You could be killed at any moment’

– Iyad Abughleiba, Palestinian farmer

Although Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza in 2005 and withdrew its forces and settlers from the enclave, it still controls vast areas of land in the northern and eastern perimeter of the Strip.

“Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip is the biggest lie. They are controlling every inch of the Strip – the land, the sea, and can you hear that noise? They are also controlling the air,” Abughleiba said as an Israeli drone buzzed at low altitude above his land.

“Like the majority of Palestinians, our grandparents lost most of their lands in Gaza and the West Bank during the [Palestinian] Nakba. But land theft did not stop here.”

The Nakba, meaning the “disaster, catastrophe or cataclysm”, marks the partition of Mandatory Palestine in 1948 and the creation of Israel. At least 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes that year. A further 280,000 to 325,000 fled their homes in territories captured by Israel in 1967. 

Following its disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel established a “buffer-zone”, a military no-go area that stretches across the Strip’s borders with Israel. The first reference to a buffer-zone in the Strip appeared in the Oslo Accords in 1993, which mentioned a 50-metre wide area along the enclave. 

Today, it extends to more than 300 – 2,000 metres inside the Strip.What is the Nakba? Day of catastrophe for Palestinians, explainedRead More »

“When Israel first established the buffer zone, we lost part of our lands. Then when they expanded it in 2009, we lost another part. This is how they gradually annex more parts of our lands every now and then,” Abughleiba explained.

Abughleiba is always on high alert while farming, even though it’s been a couple of years since Israel last annexed parts of his family’s lands.

“Even if the rest of our lands is still accessible, we are always cautious due to threats of crops being bulldozed or shots being fired at us whenever we are working.

“In 2008, the Israeli forces bulldozed our lands, uprooting dozens of olive trees and destroying a water well. In 2014, during the war on Gaza, they did it once again,” he said.

Gaza farmers and landowners bear the brunt of Israel’s policies, facing periodic bulldozing of lands, flooding of crops, and shooting by Israeli forces stationed adjacent to their lands.

“After they bulldozed our lands, we planted them again and still insist on coming back to them because they are our only source of living.

“But after all, our safety depends on the Israeli soldiers’ mood. You could be killed at any moment.” Abughleiba told MEE.

‘Modernised’ methods to steal land

Um-Emad is a Bedouin woman who was expelled from her family’s land in Beersheba during the Palestinian Nakba in 1948.

The 79-year-old lives in a small room in her sons’ house, built in the middle of their agricultural land in the eastern Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip.

For Um-Emad, living on agricultural lands is part of her family’s heritage.

‘I can never imagine my life away from our land. One metre of this land is worth a thousand apartments elsewhere.’

– Um-Emad, 79, Gaza resident

“I can never imagine my life away from our land. One metre of this land is worth a thousand apartments elsewhere,” she told MEE as she sat on the ground of her room overlooking the fields.

“If I have to leave my land in Gaza, then it has to be to my family’s land in Beersheba. That is the only place I can leave to before I die.”

Um-Emad, who was evicted to Gaza at gunpoint when she was six years old during the Nakba, thinks that Israel intends to make Palestinians pay a high price for sticking to their lands, while facilitating their migration from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

For years, Israel has been implementing an annexation plan in the West Bank that was accelerated following the announcement of former US president Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, in January 2020.

As a result, dozens of families across the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been evicted and displaced.

According to rights groups, Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, and “can have no effect on the legal status of the territory, which remains de jure occupied”.

Palestinian farmers in Gaza Strip
Palestinian farmers work in the fields in the Gaza Strip (MEE/Sanad Latifa)

“Israel today implements a systematic policy of forcing Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to migrate and leave their lands.

“The occupation does this both softly and by force. They make Palestinians believe that living in Europe with better life standards is a dream, and thus make thousands of youth leave in search for a better life, in order to make room for [Israeli] settlers.

“We are being forced to abandon our lands, but I would rather be buried here before selling one centimetre of my family’s land,” he said.

‘Every day is Land Day’

Jalal Abujlala, 47, depends mainly on his agricultural land in the eastern central Gaza Strip for living.

But with the remaining area of land after annexation by the buffer zone, the father of eight children can barely cover his family’s expenses, which include the tuition fees for his daughter who’s attending university to study medicine.

‘I always tell (my children) about our stolen lands, and that one day we will regain them back’

– Jalal Abujlala, 47, Gaza farmer

“A large part of our lands was annexed by the Occupation during the Palestinian Nakba and also due to the establishment of the Israeli buffer zone. Now the remaining area can only provide the life’s necessities,” said Abjlala.

“I can see my family’s annexed lands in the occupied territory from here. Sometimes, I approach a bit and take my children to see them. I always tell them about our stolen lands, and that one day we will regain them back,” he said.

“You would think that cultivating in this land is safe since it is not very close to the Israeli borders. But in fact, it does not have to be close in order for the farmers to be hurt,” he continued, recalling memories from Israel’s military attack on Gaza in 2014, where artillery shells targeted vast areas of agricultural lands.

“Owning a land in our country comes with no guarantees. At any moment you are threatened with bulldozing or eviction and annexation.”

For Abujlala, Israel’s measures in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are similar to the event that sparked the Land Day demonstrations in 1976.

“History repeats itself. The Land Day happens everyday in Palestine.”

Land day: Israel’s programme of Palestinian land theft goes on undisturbed

Palestinian protesters mark Land Day in the Umm Al-Hiran village in the Wadi Atir area of the Negev (Naqab) desert (AFP)
Ghada Karmi is a former research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. She was born in Jerusalem and was forced to leave her home with her family as a result of Israel’s creation in 1948. The family moved to England, where she grew up and was educated. Karmi practised as a doctor for many years working as a specialist in the health of migrants and refugees. From 1999 to 2001 Karmi was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where she led a major project on Israel-Palestinian reconciliation.

Ghada Karmi

30 March 2021 13:32 UTC | Last update: 

For Palestinians, Land Day continues to be an inspiration and a tribute to the just struggle of an unbowed people for their land

The centrality of the struggle for land has always been fundamental to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is at the heart of two major events whose anniversaries fall due on 30 March. The first, Land Day, commemorates the surge of Palestinian resistance to the takeover of their land by Israel in 1976; and the second marks the start of the Great March of Return in 2018, when thousands of Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated for the right of refugees to return to their confiscated lands in Israel.

From the start the Zionist movement was predicated on the acquisition of an empty territory on which to establish a state exclusively for Jews. Since no such land was available in the Palestine of the time, it had to be carved out, first by purchase, and later by war.

The land-grabbing journey

As Jewish immigrants began to arrive in the country in increasing numbers after 1917, Zionist organisations such as the Jewish National Fund and the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association set about buying Palestinian land, provided it was untenanted at the time of purchase.

Today, Israel’s settlements have meant that Palestinian ownership of West Bank and East Jerusalem land has shrunk to under 13 percent

Many Arab landowners living outside Palestine, in addition to a minority of Palestinian peasants, sold them land. These sales were mainly motivated by economic necessity, since the Zionist organisations had access to foreign funds unavailable to Arabs.

Years of intense Zionist effort, however, yielded disappointing results. By 1947, and despite their funding and connections to powerful supporters of Zionism, these organisations had acquired no more than a meagre 6.7 percent of Palestine’s land.

But this disappointment was soon reversed by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. In that war Israel captured 78 percent of Mandate Palestine, taking large swathes of Palestinian land, mostly untenanted thanks to population flight and expulsions in the war. 

After 1948 the new Israeli state swiftly enacted a series of laws designed to acquire more Palestinian land by pseudo-legal means. These included the 1950 Absentee Property Law, permitting the state to take over Palestinian land and property in their owners’ absence; and soon after, the 1953 Land Acquisition Law, which introduced a new category of “state lands” and “closed areas”.

This had the effect of making the state the majority owner of the land, which was to be permanently out of the reach of its previous Palestinian owners.

Subsequent events up to and including the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, that put Israel in occupation of the rest of Palestine, have been stages on the same land-grabbing journey. Today, Israel’s settlements have meant that Palestinian ownership of West Bank and East Jerusalem land has shrunk to under 13 percent. That is set to diminish further as the settlement process continues with further land loss. 

Palestinian children hold up pictures of keys, symbolising the homes they left behind (AFP)
Palestinian children hold up pictures of keys, symbolising the homes they left behind (AFP)

This is the background to the dramatic protests of Land Day in 1976. Their trigger at the time was the Israeli government’s plan to expropriate thousands of dunums of Arab land in the Galilee to build Jewish industrial villages. In line with the Israeli government’s 1975 “Galilee Development Plan” to expand Jewish settlement, it would accelerate Judaisation of what was a majority Arab area. 

A turning point

On 30 March a general strike was called, and widespread demonstrations in Arab towns erupted from the Galilee to the Negev. Thousands marched in protest, while solidarity demonstration were held in the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.Land Day: A potent symbol of the Palestinian struggle

Unexpected at the time from what had been a largely quiescent Arab population, Israel was alarmed and deployed thousands of police, army units and tanks to quell the protests. Six Arabs were killed, hundreds wounded, and hundreds more arrested.

Land Day, as it became known, was a turning point. It was the first time since 1948 that the Arabs in Israel acted as a national collective, refusing to accept the theft of their land after years of control by Israel’s military rule. Land Day was an expression of national pride and self-confidence. It marked the assertion of an Arab presence that Israel’s politics could no longer ignore, and the starting point for Arab political participation in Israel. 

From that time to this, Land Day has been commemorated annually by Palestinians everywhere. In 2018 it was marked by the start of another great Palestinian protest over land. The Great March of Return saw 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza demonstrate near the Israeli separation fence of electrified barbed wire and sensors. It was a peaceful protest, demanding the right of refugees to return to their lands and an end to the blockade of Gaza. Intended to last from 30 March to 15 May, Nakba Day, the same protests took place every Friday.

A double heroism

As in 1976 Israel retaliated with murderous violence. Between 30 March and 15 May 2018 an estimated 110 protesters were killed, and 13,000 wounded by a combination of sniper fire and drones. By the time the March of Return was halted by Hamas in December 2019, 214 people had been killed, and 36,000 wounded. Of these, 1,200 needed long term rehabilitation following bone infections and limb injuries. Israeli soldiers seemed to be using a “shoot-and-maim” policy, deliberately targeting the legs of protestors to cause maximum disability.

Land Day marked the assertion of an Arab presence that Israel’s politics could no longer ignore

Gaza’s health system, damaged by years of blockade, understaffing, and equipment and power shortages, has been unable to cope with the toll of so many injured. Yet that did not stop Palestinian youth braving death and injury each week for nearly two years, and creating a new Palestinian legend to commemorate on 30 March. 

Israel never changed course in the face of that double Palestinian heroism celebrated on Land Day. It went on to build “Development towns” for Jews, 26 by 1981, with the effect of altering the Galilee’s demography in favour of Jews.

In Gaza, likewise, the blockade continues, and Israel’s pretext of its brutality as self-defence against the Great March of Return has been accepted by many Western governments. Its programme of Palestinian land theft goes on undisturbed.  

But for Palestinians on 30 March, Land Day continues to be an inspiration, and a tribute to the just struggle of an unbowed people for their land.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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Historical References:

The Story of Palestine’s Land Day

The Story of Palestine’s Land Day

By Staff

Palestine’s Land Day is commemorated on March 30 every year marking the day on which in response to the ‘Israeli’ occupations government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of Palestinian land in 1976.

A general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the al-Naqab. In the ensuing confrontations with the Zionist army and police, six unarmed Arab citizens were martyred, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others detained.

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Land Day 2020 in the Time of the Coronavirus

March 30, 2020

Samidoun issued a call for a rally in New York City to commemorate the second anniversary of the Great Return March in Gaza, that has been transformed into a virtual event. (Photo: via Samidoun)

By Benay Blend

On March 3, 2020, Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Network issued a call for a rally in New York City to commemorate the second anniversary of the Great Return March in Gaza.

Plans were to hold the march in conjunction with the Palestine Writes Festival (March 27-29), but due to the Coronavirus the literary gathering has been postponed, and the march, like so many other events, has been transformed into a virtual event.

Two years ago, on March 30, 2018, Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip launched the Great March of Return in order to demand an end to Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip and the right of return for millions of Palestinian ethnically cleansed from their homes.

Despite Israel’s ongoing use of live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, Palestinians continue to use every legitimate means possible—including armed resistance, general strikes, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns, and the Great Return March—in their struggle for national liberation.

This year, in the words of Tamara Nassar: “Palestinians face two enemies: occupation and pandemic.” As Nassar notes, their struggle against the virus entails the same precautions as the rest of the world, while, in addition, Israel “continues to demolish structures, conduct night raids, arbitrarily arrest children and routinely harass civilians.”

For example, palinfo.com reports that on March 27, 2020, Israeli occupation soldiers invaded several areas in the West Bank city of al-Khalil where they “deliberately spat” at Palestinian homes and cars. After their departure, Palestinian workers sterilized the places where the soldiers spat in order to reduce the chances of infection.

Moreover, while the West Bank and Jerusalem are quarantined, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights last week recorded that Israelis undertook 59 home raids and 51 arrests.

All of these atrocities and more are unique to the Occupation. Nevertheless, there is a larger framework that makes it possible to place the Palestinian struggle within a broader context. As stated in Samidoun’s decision to transform the various rallies in support of Gaza into virtual events:

“Protecting each other’s health at this critical time is essential to continuing the struggle against the forces of oppression and exploitation that deny people health care or price it with a profit motive.”

For many in the labor force, this is not an option. In countries under the rule of right-wing capitalist leaders, workers are being told that they have a choice between staying home without a paycheck, thus placing their families under economic hardship, or going to workplaces that put them at risk for serious infection with the virus.

For example, the lieutenant governor of Texas Dan Patrick suggested that older Americans would surely sacrifice themselves in return for guaranteeing their grandchildren’s economic future. He also advocated that the country should be opened up for business in weeks, not months as health professionals propose.

President Donald Trump’s call to open up the country for business by Easter echoed a similar prioritizing of business and mega-church religious leaders over the lives of workers and their families.

In Palestine, too, Akram Al-Waara reports that workers face a similar dilemma, though aggravated by realities of the Occupation. For those working in Israel, new restrictions related to the Coronavirus mean that they have a choice between sacrificing a “much-needed income,” or taking the chance of being apart from their families for months.

As the virus continued to extend across Israel and the West Bank, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennet, who had already closed the borders around Bethlehem, announced that only workers in “essential” fields—construction, healthcare, and agriculture—would be granted entry; everyone else would be quarantined at home.

“While the Israelis are staying inside their homes, they are putting us to work so that things don’t collapse,” Kareem, a Palestinian construction worker, told Middle East Eye, all “for the sake of saving their economy.” Though the situation is different within the context of the Occupation, the paradigm of profit over people is inevitable wherever there is a capitalist economy. In New Mexico, where I live, Indian reservations make up expendable labor pools, much like Palestinians are today.

In the preface to Simon Ortiz’s Fight Back: For the Sake of the People, For the Sake of the Land (1980), historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz explains that “Indians have a basis of unity with non-Indians,” and it is there, “in the fields and on the picket line, that they may see through the smokescreen of racism” to pinpoint the real cause of their oppression: capitalism.

She continues:

“For the Indian and non-Indian worker in the United States and most of the hemisphere, their exploited labor provides the profits for those who claim to own the land and the factories and have armies to back their claim.”

Dunbar-Ortiz’s analysis is more important today than ever as we see workers around the world faced with the choice of watching their families starve without a paycheck or bringing sickness home from their workplace.

As Italians called for a General Strike on March 25 under the slogan “Our lives are worth more than your profits,” and requests for a nationwide rent strike erupt in the U.S., it seems an excellent time for international solidarity among the working class, Indigenous, immigrants and all other oppressed groups of people.

Meanwhile, news sources such as NPR are using fears over the Coronavirus to air the following message: “Israelis and Palestinians now have a common enemy: the Coronavirus.”

Described by +972 Magazine as “ ‘colonization of the mind,’ whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only ‘normal’ reality that must be subscribed to, and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with,” “normalization” never sleeps. Neither does colonialist oppression, even during the height of the pandemic.

As Akram Al-Waara relates, Palestinian workers in Israel who are suspected to have the virus are “dumped…like trash” near the most convenient checkpoints. “This is the true face of the Israeli occupation,” Ibrahim Abu Safiya told Middle East Eye. “They kill us on a daily basis, so this isn’t any different for them.” No cooperation here over a “common enemy to battle,” as Daniel Estrin of NPR termed it, only the continuation of the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

In Israel, the United States, and around the world, exploited groups of people are expendable, thrown away when no longer serving the needs of the elite. As a community activist and scholar Oliver Baker wrote on Facebook, this is how “whiteness in capitalism works. It expects you to consent to give it your labor and enforce empire. But it cares nothing about your life. It’s time to betray it, or if not, you’ll be in the way of people trying to free themselves from these conditions, and you don’t want to be in the way of that right now.”

Nevertheless, the message of Land Day 2020 remains one of sumoud (steadfastness) and creativity, as Palestinians from Gaza to Bethlehem mobilize collectively to fight the virus.

“If we can overcome Coronavirus, we can overcome the occupation,” writes Suha Arraf, a sentiment echoed by Lucy Thaljiyeh, a city council member and feminist political activist: “The solidarity between people has returned, the solidarity we had during the First Intifada which somehow disappeared in the Second Intifada. We are together once again, trapped; we are taking care of each other.”

As support gathers around the world in the coming days for Land Day 2020, it seems fitting to end with the words of Palestinian American activist and scholar Steven Salaita:

“I find myself thinking about the Gaza Strip, Attica, Wounded Knee, the Warsaw Ghetto, not because our situation is analogous, and not because suffering must be exceptional to have meaning, but because they’re examples of incredible strength amid hardship and insecurity and therefore provide a radical vision of fortitude in which victims of power, not its beneficiaries, serve as inspiration for survival.”

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Land Day Report: Sharp Rise in Illegal Jewish Settlement Building in West Bank

March 30, 2020

Israel is accelerating settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: File)
Newly-released statistics show a sharp rise in the building and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Quds Press reported on Sunday.
According to a report issued to mark Palestine Land Day today, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said that the number of Jewish settlements and outposts now stands at 448.
This one on the left is the 1947 partition plan of Palestine.

The one on the right is what is left of Palestine currently because of illegal Israeli settlements. Palestinians fully lost the North part btw and now they only have the red separated parts.
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This includes 150 settlements approved by the Israeli government, 26 outposts that are regarded as extensions of approved settlements and 128 outposts that have been built without the approval of the government.
In the report, the PCBS pointed out that the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank was 671,007 by the end of 2018. Furthermore, last year, the Israeli occupation authorities approved 8,457 new settlement units and 13 new outposts.
In the same period, the Israeli authorities demolished 678 Palestinian facilities, including 251 residential buildings, and issued 556 orders for Palestinians to stop work on building new homes or renovating older premises.
Under international law, Jewish settlements constructed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories constitute a violation of international law and are considered illegal.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

في الذكرى الرابعة والأربعين ليوم الأرض محطات في تاريخ الصراع ووقفات عزّ قومية

سماح مهدي

يُعدّ يوم 1/8/1882 في التاريخ الحديث نقطة الانطلاقة الفعلية من قبل العدو اليهودي باتجاه اغتصاب أرضنا في فلسطين. ففي ذلك التاريخ أنشأت حركة «أحباء صهيون» أول مغتصبة يهودية على أرض فلسطين.

إلا أنّ الإعلان الأبرز عن ذلك التوجه الاغتصابيّ كان على إثر تأسيس المنظمة الصهيونية العالمية بتاريخ 29/08/1897، وعقدها لمؤتمرها الأول في مدينة بازل السويسرية، وكانت أبرز مقرراته إقامة «وطن قومي لليهود» على أرضنا في فلسطين.

باشرت الحركة الصهيونية نشاطها لتستفيد من اندلاع الحرب العالمية الأولى وتوقيع اتفاقية سايكس – بيكو التقسيمية بتاريخ 16/05/1916، فاستحصلت بتاريخ 02/11/2017 على ذلك الوعد المشؤوم من وزير خارجية بريطانيا – آنذاك – آثر بلفور بإقامة الوطن القومي اليهودي المزعوم.

بطبيعة الحال، تصدّى أبناء شعبنا في فلسطين للخطة اليهوديّة المعادية، وعقد المؤتمر الفلسطيني الأول في القدس بتاريخ 27/01/1919. وتلاه المؤتمر الشعبي الكبير في فلسطين بتاريخ 05/03/1919 الذي تقرّر فيه رفض الاحتلال البريطاني ووعد بلفور والهجرة اليهودية ِإلى فلسطين.

ويسجل التاريخ في 27/02/1920 خروج أول تظاهرة وطنية فلسطينية احتجاجاً على سلخ فلسطين عن سورية، فأعلن شعبنا الفلسطيني تمسكه بهويّته القومية وإصراره على البقاء موحداً مع محيطه الطبيعي.

وعلى الرغم من تقرير عصبة الأمم تم تنفيذ الاحتلال البريطاني لفلسطين بتاريخ 24/07/1922، إلا أنّ شعبنا الفلسطيني البطل استمرّ في رفضه ومقاومته لذلك الاحتلال حتى وصل إلى إعلان الثورة الشاملة بتاريخ 15/04/1936.

ولا نذيع سراً أنّ الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي الذي تأسّس في 16/11/1932 ليكون الخطة النظامية المعاكسة للمشروع اليهودي ولحركته السياسية المسمّاة بالحركة الصهيونية، كان واحداً من المشاركين في تلك الثورة، حيث لبّى القوميون الاجتماعيون نداء فلسطين، وقاتلوا دفاعاً عنها ضدّ العصابات اليهودية. فكان أن ارتقى في مدينة نابلس بتاريخ 23/09/1936 أول شهداء الحزب الرفيق حسين البنا إبن بلدة شارون في قضاء عاليه – جبل لبنان.

على الرغم من التصدي البطولي لأبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني في مواجهة مغتصبي الأرض، جاءت لجنة بيل لتعلن عن اقتراحها في 07/07/1937 للمرة الأولى بتقسيم فلسطين إلى دولتين تكون الأولى لأهل الأرض الأصليين والثانية لمغتصبيها من اليهود.

بدأت الحرب العالمية الثانية، فوضعت الحركة الصهيونية كلّ ثقلها للاستفادة من نتائجها في سبيل تحقيق هدف إقامة كيان الاحتلال، خاصة بعد إنشاء الأمم المتحدة بتاريخ 24/10/1945 لتكون الهيئة الدولية الجديدة التي ترعى مصالح الأمم المنتصرة في الحرب.

بتاريخ 02/03/1947 عاد مؤسس الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي أنطون سعاده من مغتربه القسري إلى لبنان، فكانت في استقباله حشود قدّرت بعشرات الآلاف من القوميين الاجتماعيين، فألقى خطابه الشهير المعروف بخطاب العودة الذي جاء فيه:

«ولعلكم ستسمعون من سيقول لكم إنّ في إنقاذ فلسطين حيفاً على لبنان واللبنانيين وأمراً لا دخل للبنانيين فيه. إنّ إنقاذ فلسطين هو أمر لبناني في الصميم، كما هو أمر شامي في الصميم، كما هو أمر فلسطيني في الصميم. إنّ الخطر اليهودي على فلسطين هو خطر على سورية كلها، هو خطر على جميع هذه الكيانات».

استمرّت الخطة المشؤومة في سيرها، فصدر قرار الأمم المتحدة رقم 181 بتاريخ 29/11/1947، والذي قضى بتقسيم فلسطين كما خطّط له أيام عصبة الأمم. ليتبع ذلك إعلان قيام كيان الاحتلال الإسرائيلي بتاريخ 15/5/1948.

ما كان هذا الإعلان أن يمرّ مرور الكرام، فانتفض كلّ من أحبّ فلسطين ليدافع عنها في مواجهة ذلك العدو الوجودي. ومجدّداً، واستجابة لنداء زعيم الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي أنطون سعاده تشكلت الفرق القوميّة للذوْد عن جنوب الأمة السورية، فكانت أولاها «فرقة الزوبعة الحمراء» التي تأسّست بتاريخ 21/5/1948 لتقاتل بقيادة الأمين الراحل مصطفى سليمان النبالي.

استولى المغتصبون اليهود نتيجة حرب العام 1948 على ما يقارب من 78% من أرض فلسطين، وقاموا بتهجير حوالي 85% من أهلها.

لم تكد تضع الحرب أوزارها حتى أعلن كنيست الاحتلال القدس عاصمة أبدية لكيان الاغتصاب اليهوديّ بتاريخ 23/01/1950. وتلا ذلك إصدار ما يُسمّى بقانون العودة بتاريخ 5/7/1950 الذي يبيح أرض فلسطين لكلّ يهود العالم.

تسارعت الهجرة اليهودية إلى أرض فلسطين المحتلة، وسعت حكومة الاحتلال إلى تهويد كلّ القرى والمدن الفلسطينية حتى تلك التي صمد فيها أهلها ورفضوا تهجيرهم رغم كلّ الضغوط التي تعرّضوا لها من قبل قوات الاحتلال.

من ضمن الأراضي المستهدفة بعملية التهويد كانت الأراضي التي تعرف باسم «المل» أو المنطقة رقم 9، وهي تقع ضمن قرى سخنين وعرابة ودير حنا، وتبلغ مساحتها 60 ألف دونم.

وكانت هذه الأراضي تحت سيطرة جيش الاحتلال البريطاني بين عامي 1942 و1944 حيث كان يستخدمها كمنطقة تدريبات عسكرية أثناء الحرب العالمية الثانية.

أبقى جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي على الوضع نفسه الذي كان سائدًا في أيام الاحتلال البريطاني، حتى جاء العام 1956 فقام بإغلاق المنطقة بهدف إقامة مخططات بناء مغتصبات يهودية ضمن مشروع تهويد الجليل.

نتيجة لطبيعته الاحتلالية والتوسعية، لم يكتفِ كيان الاحتلال بما احتله من أراضٍ في العام 1948، حتى بلغ أوجه في حرب العام 1967 التي تمكن خلالها من احتلال ما تبقى من أرض فلسطين والجولان وسيناء.

محطة جديدة يثبت فيها الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي أنه حزب فلسطين عبر تشكيل «جبهة الفداء القومي» بقيادة الأمين الراحل سامي خوري، والتي نفذت عمليات عدة ضدّ جيش الاحتلال كان أبرزها العملية البطولية التي نفذت في غور الأردن بتاريخ 17/03/1968 وأسر فيها الرفيق الدكتور عزمي منصور.

على الرغم من تحرير أجزاء من أرضنا القومية المحتلة خلال حرب تشرين التحريرية في العام 1973، إلا أنّ الصراع لم يتوقف، بل استمرّ في سبيل تحرير ما تبقى من أرض تحت الاحتلال ومنع تهويدها ومصادرتها.

وفي هذا الإطار عقد بتاريخ 29/07/1975 اجتماع في حيفا المحتلة حضره مبادرون لتنظيم حملة الاحتجاج على مصادرة الأراضي الفلسطينية بعد أن أعلنت سلطات كيان الاحتلال عزمها على مصادرة 21 ألف دونم من أراضي نحو 12 قرية فلسطينية. وقد ضمّ الاجتماع عدداً من رؤساء المجالس المحلية الفلسطينية وشخصيات وطنية مختلفة من مجاهدين وأطباء ومثقفين ورجال دين وفلاحين. وتقرّر في هذا الاجتماع تشكيل لجنة للدفاع عن الأراضي الفلسطينية.

بتاريخ 15/8/1975 دعت هذه اللجنة إلى عقد اجتماع شعبي موسّع في الناصرة المحتلة تقرّرت فيه الدعوة إلى مؤتمر شعبي عام للمطالبة بوقف مصادرة الأراضي. وصدر عن الاجتماع نداء موجه إلى الرأي العام يدعوه إلى المشاركة في الحملة ضدّ سياسة المصادرة، حيث وقع على هذا النداء آلاف المواطنين وجميع الهيئات الشعبية والمجالس المحلية الفلسطينية.

وعقدت لجنة الدفاع بعد ذلك عشرات الاجتماعات الشعبية في الجليل والمثلث، فكان أبرزها المؤتمر الشعبي العام الذي عقد في الناصرة المحتلة بتاريخ 18/10/1975، الذي عدّ أكبر مؤتمر شعبي يُعقد في فلسطين المحتلة بعد عام 1948 حتى ذلك الحين.

وفي هذا المؤتمر تقرّر إعلان الإضراب العام وتنظيم مظاهرات أمام كنيست العدو إذا لم تتراجع حكومة الاحتلال عن مخططات مصادرة الأراضي الفلسطينية وتهويدها. لكن سلطات الاحتلال تجاهلت ذلك وضربت بمطالب أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني عرض الحائط.

استمرّ العدو المحتلّ في ممارسة أعمال التهويد، فصدر بتاريخ 13/02/1976 قرار بإغلاق منطقة المل (المنطقة رقم 9) ومنع أهلها من أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني من الدخول إليها.

كما صدرت بتاريخ 1/3/1976 وثيقة متصرف لواء الشمال في ما يسمّى وزارة داخلية الاحتلال (وثيقة كيننغ) المتضمّنة مجموعة اقتراحات لاستكمال تهويد الجليل، حيث تضمّنت النقاط التالية:

1 ـ تكثيف الاستيطان اليهودي في شمال فلسطين المحتلة (منطقة الجليل).

2 ـ السعي لإنشاء حزب من أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني يُعتبر «أخاً» لحزب العمل الإسرائيلي ويركز على المساواة والسلام.

3 ـ رفع التنسيق بين الجهات الحكومية الاحتلالية في معالجة مسائل أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني.

4 ـ إيجاد إجماع «قومي يهودي» داخل أحزاب الاحتلال حول موضوع أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني الصامدين داخل الأرض المحتلة.

5 ـ التضييق الاقتصادي على العائلات الفلسطينية عبر ملاحقتها بالضرائب وإعطاء الأولوية لليهود في فرص العمل، وكذلك تخفيض نسبة أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني في التحصيل العلمي وتشجيع التوجهات المهنية لدى التلاميذ.

6 ـ تسهيل هجرة الشباب والطلاب من أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني إلى خارج البلاد ومنع عودتهم إليها.

دعت لجنة الدفاع بالاشتراك مع لجنة رؤساء المجالس المحلية الفلسطينية إلى اجتماع موسّع عقد في الناصرة المحتلة بتاريخ 6/3/1976 وحضره أكثر من 70 مندوباً يمثلون مختلف القرى والتجمعات الفلسطينية في المثلث والجليل. وفي هذا الاجتماع اتخذ القرار التاريخي بإعلان الإضراب العام يوم 30 آذار عام 1976. لكن سلطات الاحتلال استمرت في تنفيذ مخططها التهويدي.

وبتاريخ 19/3/1976 أصدر وزير المالية في حكومة الاحتلال أمر مصادرة الأراضي الفلسطينية. وانكبّت حكومته على ممارسة شتى أنواع الترهيب بهدف ضرب وحدة أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني ومنع نجاح الإضراب المقرّر.

وأشاعت حكومة الاحتلال أنه سيتمّ صرف كلّ العمال الذين يتغيّبون عن أعمالهم يوم 30 آذار 1976 من دون تسديد تعويضاتهم المستحقة. كما عمّمت على الدوائر بعدم إعطاء إجازات للعمال من أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني في يوم الإضراب المحدّد.

كما عمدت حكومة الاحتلال إلى تعبئة قوات كبيرة من الشرطة وحرس الحدود والجيش، ومركزتها في القرى والمدن الفلسطينية.

لم تكتف حكومة الاحتلال بكلّ هذه التدابير الاستثنائية، بل بات وزير شرطتها في مدينة الناصرة المحتلة منذ تاريخ 29/03/1976 ليتابع شخصياً كلّ إجراءات القمع الاحتلالية، حتى وصف ذلك اليوم بأنه اليوم الذي لم يبق فيه جهاز في كيان الاحتلال إلا واشترك في محاولة إفشال الإضراب.

على الرغم من كلّ هذا الاستنفار العام لدى جميع أجهزة سلطات الاحتلال، قرّرت لجنة الدفاع عن الأراضي الفلسطينية والقوى الوطنية الأخرى الاستمرار في المواجهة وخوض صراع قاسٍ مع حكومة الاحتلال أقلّ ما يُقال فيه إنه صراع وجود بكلّ ما تحويه الكلمة من معنى.

وكما هو مقرّر، في يوم الثلاثين من آذار من العام 1976، عمّ الإضراب الشامل مدن وقرى الجليل والمثلث الفلسطينية. فصبّت سلطات الاحتلال جامّ غضبها على أبناء شعبنا الفلسطيني في محاولة بائسة منها لثنيه عن المضي في إضرابه. مما أدّى إلى اشتباكات مباشرة مع قوات الاحتلال كانت أشدّها ضراوة في قرى سخنين وعرابة ودير حنا.

ارتقى نتيجة الصدامات البطولية مع قوات الاحتلال ستة شهداء: ثلاثة من سخنين هم خديجة قاسم شواهة ورجا أبو ريا وخضر خلايلة، وخير ياسين (من عرابة) ومحسن طه (من كفركنا) ورأفت علي زهيري (من مخيم نور شمس في الضفة الغربية واستشهد في الطيبة). هذا فضلاً عن 49 جريحاً ونحو300 معتقل. فيما أصيب من شرطة الاحتلال 20 شرطياً.

لا يختلف إثنان على أنّ يوم الأرض شكل علامة فارقة في تاريخ الصراع الوجوديّ بين أبناء شعبنا في فلسطين المحتلة وقوات الاحتلال. فكانت هذه واحدة من المحطات الأبرز في تاريخ المقاومة الوطنية الفلسطينية المستندة إلى إرادة شعبية موحدة تمكنت من قيادة مواجهات بطولية ضدّ المحتل اليهودي على الرغم من انعدام الموارد واختلال موازين القوة المادية.

يوم الأرض، نجمة مضيئة في تاريخنا القومي المليء بوقفات البطولة، يستمدّ شعبنا الفلسطيني منها روحه المقاومة، فكان في العام 2018 شرارة الانطلاق لمسيرات العودة التي انطلقت من قطاع غزة المحاصر باتجاه أرضنا الفلسطينية المحتلة عام 1948. فأراد أهلنا المقاومون في غزة، ومن ضمنهم رفقاؤنا في منفذية جنوب فلسطين، أن يجعلوا من هذا التاريخ – الثلاثين من آذار – تاريخاً محفوراً في الذاكرة القومية أنه تاريخ حياة التي لا يمكن أن تكون إلا وقفة عز فقط.

*عضو المجلس الأعلى في الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي.

On Criticism of Palestinian Resistance

 

Palestinian Ghandi.jpg

by Eve Mykytyn*

The Oxford definition of ‘terrorism’  is: “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”    Although the term could apply to the belligerents in many wars, the term ‘terrorism’ takes on its everyday meaning when violence is perpetuated by the weak in resistance to the powerful.

What other form of resistance is available to an oppressed people?  One does not have to search hard to find a Jewish source begging for the peaceful resistance of a Palestinian Gandhi or King.

The request itself is odd, it invites a comparison to the conditions Gandhi and King fought, and is an implicit, although perhaps unintended,  admission that Israel represents another oppressive racist regime.

It takes chutzpah to complain about the form of resistance employed by the people you are oppressing. Why are the Palestinians obliged to meet violence with nonviolence? Certainly  you have to take your victims as they are.

Gandhi wrote about the uses of nonviolent resistance and King referred to Gandhi’s writings. For Gandhi and King nonviolence was not an end in itself, it was a strategy, a means to achieve a goal. Despite later deifications, neither Gandhi nor King was a saint,  they were leaders who employed non violent resistance because it was effective under their circumstances.

Both men were vastly outpowered by the brutal regimes they opposed. Nonviolence did not allow them or their followers  to escape injury or death, their battles required at least as much physical bravery as for any soldiers.

Both Gandhi and King deliberately provoked their enemies and then refused either to back down or to physically fight back. The decision to meet violence with nonviolent resistance was a powerful tool used to expose the brutality of the regime. The march to Selma would have amounted to little without the press. What they ‘achieved’ was  an unforgettably painful display of violence. To the extent nonviolence succeeded for King, it was because the ‘soldiers’ on the other side gave Americans a clear picture of the savagery to which blacks were subjected. It became increasingly difficult for those who had long averted their eyes to claim ignorance.

One reason the Palestinians are portrayed as ‘failing’ to meet the standard set  by Gandhi or King is that their use of the tactic of nonviolence has not attracted sympathetic coverage, it has not been effective enough in exposing Israel’s brutality. There are, of course, numerous examples of peaceful Palestinian resistance. One example is commemorated on ‘Land Day’ remembering the day in 1976 that Israel killed peaceful Palestinian protesters. Another occurred during the first intifada, as Neve Gordon writes in 972, when the “Palestinians adopted massive civil disobedience strategies, including daily protests” against Israel’s occupation. Israel responded with violence and  mass incarcerations. While they could easily provoke violence through peaceful protest, the Palestinians could not win the media nor shame the Israelis into change.

This, of course, begs the question of control of the media. King  was extensively covered in the media.  Do the Palestinians have access to the same?  At best, Haaretz might decry the proportionality of Israel’s violence, but will it explore the true meaning of Palestinian protest, both the original and the ongoing taking of their property and destruction of their society? Would  the international press do any better?

As I was writing this I realized that Palestinian nonviolent protests in Gaza have had perhaps a small effect on public opinion. The mainstream media in the US is universally favorable to Israel, but although they tried, the media was not entirely successful in creating sympathy for the  Israeli snipers. For example, The Guardian, in reporting that one year into the protest, the Israelis had killed 190 and wounded 28,000, noted that, “Children, journalists and medics have been killed, even when they were standing far back from the fence.”  Spin that one. Here’s an attempt by Eric Yoffe,  a self-described ‘liberal’ American Jew,  to justify killing protestors who had not killed a single Israeli.  “If 100 Jewish bodies were strewn across southern Israel, would the American left more readily forgive Israel’s defensive actions against an angry mob of tens of thousands propelled by the murderous, anti-Semitic terrorists of Hamas?”  This is simply a variation on the “I thought he was going to hit me so I hit him back first” defense. Perhaps the need to resort to such a  feeble rationale helps explain why we finally have a tiny Congressional support group for the Palestinians. Seventeen were so daring as to vote against an anti BDS bill.

Further, Israel has shown little sign that it is willing to change its basic  oppressive policies in response to any actions or restraint by the Palestinians. This is an interesting video in which Israeli ‘settlers’ are asked if they would move if told to do so by their government and knowing the move would mean peace in the region.  Their responses are variations on “No, I would not, it is my land.” Perhaps they are merely following the lessons of their religion.

In the story of Exodus, recounted annually even by many secular Jews at Passover, Moses unsuccessfully begs the Pharaoh for his peoples’ freedom. The lesson to be learned: Jewish liberation comes only after Egyptian civilians are subjected to terrible brutality.

Shaaban on Land Day: Al-Quds and Golan eyes of Arab Nation

 Mar 30, 2014

Damascus, (SANA) Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban said that al-Quds and Golan are the eyes of the Arab Nation and it is the duty of all to defend them, adding “clinging to the land and sacrificing for it is the only choice for us.”
Shaaban pointed out Sunday during the inauguration of “From Golan to al-Quds” forum marking 38th anniversary of the Land Day, which was held by Al-Quds International Foundation in Damascus-based al-Sham Hotel with the participation of a number of researchers and thinkers, that those who defend al-Quds and Golan from any Arab country are actually defending themselves, their Arabism, religion and future, considering that “no-one has a favor in that as we are all targeted…and did not we believe in that, they would occupy our lands piece after piece.”
She pointed out that everybody sees how and why Syria is being targeted, “So we move back to the same equation which is clinging to the land, the principle and the value of sacrifice.”
“All those who launch assault on Syria will be repelled…hundreds of invaders had come to this land throughout thousands of years, but they were repelled and we have remained here because we believe in our land,” Shaaban added.
20140330-135021.jpg
Presidential Political and Media Advisor clarified that the war waged on Syria is not of a sectarian nature but rather it is a war launched for controlling our land , pointing out that Israel set schemes for a hundred years in advance, and the sole response to that is represented through adhering to the land, the principles and the value of sacrifice.
“We should comprehend the principle of the land deeply and comprehensively because it is a basic condition for our existence, and if we take a panoramic view of the human history we could see that the entire conflicts revolve on the lands,” she elaborated.
“The Palestinians were not mistaken when they considered that their presence in the land is the only right and genuine existence,” Shaaban said.
She lauded the adherence of the Arabs and Syrians to the occupied Golan, reminding of what the late President Hafez al-Assad said “We will not give up a grain of soil of Golan.”
Shaaban stressed that the Arab-Zionist conflict is the compass of all what is going on in the Arab land, clarifying “We will not master analysis without realizing that the Palestinian issue is the Arabs’ central issue, and targeting the Palestinians is the first step for attacking all the Arabs.”
Assistant Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command Talal Naji said the reason behind the conspiring against the Syrian people is their adherence to the Palestinian Cause and belief in the liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The West wants the Arab leaders and countries to be in cahoots with them to liquidate the national rights of the Palestinian people,” he added.
He addressed the Syrian people by saying “We will always be with you until we liberate the occupied territories in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and each and every Arab land.”
“Land Day is the day of belonging to the genuine Arab national identity,” said Director General of al-Quds International Foundation Safir al-Jarad.
He highlighted the significance and symbolism of Golan and Palestine and the unity of their course of struggle in confronting the Israeli ambitions.
English Bulletin

Al-Jazeera Staff Expelled from Palestinian March in Protest of Blood-stained Coverage of Syria File




Out …Out the Syrian Land is Free,”

Mar 31, 2013
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM , (SANA) – Dozens of Palestinians participating in a march marking the occasion of Land Day on Saturday expelled the Qatari al-Jazeera Channel’s staff from Sakhnin City in the occupied Palestinian territories of 1948 in protest of its hostile and provocative follow- up of Syria’s file.
 

The Palestinians expressed rejection of al-Jazeera covering Land Day, annually celebrated by Palestinians to emphasize their full right in the occupied Palestinian territories, objecting to the channel’s lack of integrity and objectivity in its coverage of the Syrian crisis.
Addressing the al-Jazeera staff, they chanted “Out …Out the Syrian Land is Free,” the thing which forced them to leave the march at once.
 
Hoisting the Syrian and Palestinian flags, the participants expressed their full support to Syria, stressing that the Palestinian-Syrian cohesion and rejection of Israeli-international imperialistic conspiracy against Syria should be the title of Land Day.
 
This is not the first time that al-Jazeera staffs have been expelled by angered protestors, as Tunisians repelled al-Jazeera Mubashar (Live) staff two weeks ago during an attempt to cover a protest held on the occasion of marking 40 day after the assassination of the opposition struggler, Shukri Baleid.
 
R. Milhem / H. Said
 

Al Jazeera reporter chased off at Land Day protest

Land Day protest in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013.
Land Day protest in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013.
أهالي سخنين في فلسطين المحتلة : جزيرة برا برا.. الأرض السورية حرة

Waking up to Zionist Al-Jazeera propaganda

Al Jazeera Arabic reporter Elias Karam and his crew was chased by a crowd of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad at the Land Day protest in Sakhnin in the Galilee on Saturday. Karam took cover in a local restaurant until he was able to be spirited out shortly after.

Members of the crowd, some of them carrying Syrian flags, accused Al Jazeera of being one-sided, and a “propaganda outlet” that supports the Syrian rebels.

Both while the reporter was inside the restaurant and afterwards, scuffles broke out between pro-regime and anti-Assad groups, with some beating each other with sticks. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and the crowd cleared out. A few people were lightly wounded and treated at the scene.

At no point did police arrive during the fracas, which lasted a little over half an hour.

The fights took place as protesters commemorated Land Day, which marks the 1976 protests against the government’s land appropriations, during which six Israeli Arabs were killed by Israeli forces.

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On the Land Day, the 2011 Nakba-Naksa Days and the war on the Armed Resistance

Flashback:
 

 Hassan Hijazi and Izat aziz Muswada and tens of thousands of Palestinians marched to Palestine on  2011 Nakba and Naksa days to confirm that Palestine must be the compass of the Arab Spring.

 

Izat aziz Muswada  joined thousands of others as they marched to the ceasefire line between Syria and occupied Gollan Hieghts, he crossed the mine fields on the cease fire line in Majdal Shams, he and his fellow demonstrators were warmly welcomed, and he quickly began plotting a way to return Jerusalem… the IOF arressted him on Huwara checkpoint near Nablis on his way towards Jerusalem, putting an end of his dream of reaching Jerusalem and praying in Alaqsa.  He was detained his for few days before being expelled back to Syria.

After three weeks, on Naksa day Izat decided to try again. Unfortunately, his dream of returning home ended quickly and violently.

Hassan Hijazi did it, he reached Yafa (Java) .

“I don’t want to go back to Syria,” Hijazi told the Jewish media, I want to stay here in my village, where my father and grandfather were born.”

“Syria is a good country for Palestinians and I don’t know what the Israeli government would do to us. I want to stay here and bring my family here” , he noted.

Hijazi said that despite US and Israeli allegations, the protest at the border was not organized by Syrian President Bashar Assad as an attempt to divert attention from the domestic crackdown against anti-regime protesters. 


When asked what he thought of President Assad, who has ordered a violent crackdown against anti-regime protesters, Hijazi said solemnly, He is a good president.”

On 16/05/2011, after the 2011 Nakba day, Ismail Haneyya, speaking at a ceremony after several Gaza fishermen received new boats, said that Palestinian and Arab blood that was spilt during Nakba marches suggests that Nakba is being marked with a new spirit, and that the Palestinians have begun to ”bury the Nakba” for good.

“Palestine will see a peaceful flood of people that will eliminate [Israel’s] arrogance”  he added
“Gaza has been under siege for the past four years, but on Nakba Day, [Israel] has been besieged from all sides.”

 

One month later the rotten Oslo Palestinian leadership in ramallah, the BDS, NGOs, and the Sectarian leadership in Gaza which was preparing to rent its guns to the so-called Arab Spring changed accused Syria and Iran for trying to turn the escalating internal protests against Israel at the expense of the Palestinians, exploiting the “popular protests” in the Arab world.

Consequently, the relatives of the Naksa day martyres attacked the PFLP-GC headquarters in the camp and burned a number of cars in front of the building, a clinic and a kindergarten.  They also attacked a senior PFLP-Habash operative named Maher al-Taher, blaiming PFLP-Habash for inciting the young men to go to the Golan Heights “to serve the political interests of others.

In shorts the above event paved the way for the ongoing Yarmouk Nakba, and cofirmed that the conspiracy Syria is nothing more than a conspiracy against the Palestinian people and their right of return on one hand, and the other hand, isolate Syria from the Palestinian cause on , by pulling the right of return card and the Syrian veto on any Arab conspiracy against Palestine.

Around two years ago,  Ismail Haneyya, claimed “On Nakba Day, [Israel] has been besieged from all sides.”

On this anniversary of Earth Day, Gaza is still under Siege, mainly, by the Iblis Botherhood ruling Cairo, Yarmouk camp is occupied, by the friends of Hamas,

and Syria continues to resist and defend Palestine and true Islam resistor, against Wahhabism /Brotherhood gangs, and their masters in the NL Aviv and Washington.



Land Day protest in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013.
Land Day: Arab48 raising Syrian Flag in Sakhnin, March 30, 2013
أهالي سخنين في فلسطين المحتلة : جزيرة برا برا.. الأرض السورية حرة
.

Syria will be the victorious and Palestine will never die

————–

Palestinians Revive Land Day, Assert Adherence to Resistance

Local Editor
The Palestinian people are reviving on Saturday the 37th anniversary of the Land Day in and outside Palestine in massive rallies.

37 years have passed on the “Land Day” which Palestinians commemorate annually to reassure their ownership of Palestine. This day was founded in 1976, when the Israeli occupation decided to expropriate thousands of Palestinian lands, specifically in Galilee.

Palestinian demonstratorDespite the peacefulness of the demonstrations, the Israeli military’s response was violent and led to several deaths and injuries.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement issued a statement, published by Paltoday, in which it stressed the importance of adhering to the land and sanctities, assuring that “defending them is a sacred duty which we derive from Islam.”
The Islamic Jihad added that “the choice of resistance and challenge is the only path for getting back our seized right.”

For its part, Hamas Movement stated that “the Palestinian people have the right to stay in their land and to get back all the lands occupied since 1948,” indicating that “occupation does not justify Zionist attempts to seize those lands, build settlements, and displace natives.”

Hamas added in a statement issued Saturday that “the public uprising of our people … on the 30th of March, 1976, assured their ultimate rejection to the Zionist plans to rob their lands and try to judaize them.”

“This occasion has formed a new stage in the confrontation of the Zionist enemy, which is public uprisings. From here, we stress the importance of armed resistance at this current phase, as well as the change of the balance of power in the conflict against the Zionist enemy,” the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement added.

In parallel, Fatah Movement considered “this occasion is considered to all the Palestinians, in Palestine and place of exile, a clash of cultural conflict, a conflict between the owners and defenders of the land… and the culture of extermination, expansion, and renouncement of other peoples’ rights, which the Zionist occupation symbolizes…”

Fatah added in a statement that “Land day is like an alarm to Israel’s policies which target land and people in order to achieve the settlement dream and the establishment of a Jewish state.”
“For us, this day will always symbolize the culture of steadfastness and victory,” it added.

Source: Agencies
30-03-2013 – 13:52 Last updated 30-03-2013 – 15:18


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Israeli forces attack annual "Land Day" protests

Palestinians take part in a rally marking Land Day in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on 30 March 2013. (Photo: AFP – Mahmud Hams)
Published Saturday, March 30, 2013
 
Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber coated bullets at Palestinians marking the annual Land Day in towns across the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, local media reported.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an News Agency that hundreds of Palestinians gathered in agricultural lands near the West Bank village of Jayyus to plant trees in commemoration of Land Day before Israeli troops stormed the area.

The soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the Palestinians, injuring dozens who inhaled the thick fumes.
In Ramallah in the central West Bank, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets near the Qalandiya checkpoint which separates Ramallah and Jerusalem, a Ma’an reporter said.

In southern Gaza, east of Rafah, Israeli troops fired tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators, injuring several of them.

Palestinians also marked Land Day near Erez crossing and in the town of Beit Hanoun, both in northern Gaza.

Israeli forces had deployed heavily across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and on the northern border with Lebanon, since Friday in preparation for the yearly demonstrations.
Palestinians worldwide have marked every March 30 Land Day since Israeli police killed six Palestinians from inside the Green Line in 1976 who were protesting the theft of thousands of dunums of Arab land.

In Bethlehem, activists marked Land Day near Rachel’s Tomb where they raised Palestinian flags. Lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, joined the commemoration.

“Each day for our people is a land day during our battle with the occupation who steals our land and our future,” Barghouti said. “The only way to respond to the plots against our land is by escalating popular resistance across homeland.”
(Ma’an, WAFA)

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Land Day: Why It Matters

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoIn 1948, Israel stole 78% of Palestine. In 1967, they took the rest. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict remains the longest unresolved one of our time.

Long denied justice awaits. Western complicity with Israel prevents Palestinians from living free. So did Arafat’s Oslo surrender. Abbas and PA cronies continue working against their own people for whatever benefits they derive.

On Land Day, Listen to the Land
Palestine’s an isolated prison. State terror is official Israeli policy. So is attacking nonviolent Palestinian protesters. Edward Said once said, “Jonathan Swift, thou shouldst be living at this hour.”

He’d blanche at how bad things are now. We all should and do something about it. Change depends on it.

Occupied Palestine is the region’s epicenter. Israeli police state terror suffocates Palestinians for not being Jews. An inexorable quest for dominance and corrupted self-interest deny justice.

Nonetheless, Palestinians persist. Living free on their own land drives them. Every March 30 they commemorate what’s important to remember every day.

Since 1976, Palestinians worldwide observe Land Day and why it matters. Nationwide protests and general strike action erupted. At issue was Israel’s land confiscation policy and brutal occupation harshness.

Celebrating The Land; Celebrating Palestine
Israel declared demonstrations illegal. Palestinians ignored the threat and rallied. Thousands of Israeli security forces confronted them violently. Six Palestinians died. Dozens more were injured. Hundreds were arrested.

That’s how police states operate. Nothing changed to this day. Professors Baruch Kimmerling and Joel Migdal said Land Day 1976 was special. Palestinians showed “daring confidence and political awareness” lacking earlier.

This time they weren’t “passive or submissive.” They “initiated and coordinated” nationwide political activity. Security force violence confronted them. Nonetheless, Palestinians showed they’d no longer be ignored.

Thirty-six years ago, Israel announced a plan to confiscate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes.” Palestinians had enough and resisted. They vowed to defend their land and rights.

They’re important. So are Arab identity and heritage. Occupied Palestinians and Israeli ones united. They protested against Israel’s plan to replace them with Jews.

In early 1975, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced a project to Judaize the Galilee. “Developing the Galilee,” he called it. The idea was to transform it into a majority Jewish region, construct eight industrial estates, and develop its economy overall.

On March 1, 1976, General Yisrael Koenig, in charge of Israel’s northern region, prepared a secret report. It planned removing Arabs from the area, confiscating their land, and Judaizing it.

It warned about Arabs becoming the majority population. He called it a serious threat to Israel’s character. Israelis today warn of a “demographic bomb.” It’s when Palestinians will outnumber Jews. Longstanding Israeli policy aims to prevent it. “De-Arabization,” it’s called.

Key is displacing Palestinians from their land, stealing all valued parts, expelling as many non-Jews as possible, consigning those remaining to worthless, isolated bantustans, and erasing an Arab heritage.

In 1976, Koening recommended encouraging Jewish immigrants to populate the Galilee and Negev regions. At the same time, he wanted Arabs removed to accommodate them.

Rabin issued an order to confiscate about 21,000 dunams in Deir Hanna, Sakhnin and Arabeh. Land Day protests resulted. It was a milestone, a turning point in Israeli/Palestinian relations. For the first time, masses across Palestine and Israel challenged what no one should tolerate.

 It was also a catalyzing event. It united them to resist occupation and repression. The price of freedom involves resistance. One day alone isn’t enough, but Land Day is important.

Untill our Liberation and Return
Dozens of cities worldwide commemorate it. Diaspora Palestinians participate. So do supporters. On Land Day 2012, Haaretz said clashes erupted in Jerusalem, at checkpoints, and at the border crossing near Rachel’s Tomb.

Other rallies occurred across the West Bank and Gaza. Thousands rallied in Deir Hanna. Defense Minister Ehud Barak deployed security forces to confront them. Border crossings were closed. Palestinians and supporters participated in a “Global March to Jerusalem.”

Clashes erupted. Dozens of Palestinians were injured. At least one death occurred. Maan News reported on how the day unfolded. Thousands participated but less than expected.

Nonetheless, unity won the day. “Not just in the occupied territory but in Arab states and elsewhere, all for this goal.” Activist Abir Kopty said “(u)nity is so important for us, for Palestinians.”

Commenting on how PA security forces worked jointly with Israeli ones, she added: “It’s a shame. What else can I say? Just a shame.”

According to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, 34 protesters were arrested. Amnesty International‘s Ann Harrison said:

“News that Israeli forces are firing live ammunition on Land Day demonstrators near the Erez Crossing in Gaza, and that scores have been injured in protests in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem is extremely worrying, particularly in the light of frequent and persistent use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters.”

“We are also concerned at reports that Palestinian Authority security forces have tried to prevent protests in areas under their control, while Hamas security forces have beaten protesters in Gaza. All those involved in policing demonstrations should respect freedom of assembly and must adhere to international policing standards.”


Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nabil Kauk said:

“The nation’s right to the whole of Palestine is not dead. Palestine is not waiting for the Arab summit or international decisions. The Palestinian nation relies on the guns of fighters in Gaza, in Ramallah and in Bint Jbeil.”

Gaza protests continued all day. Israel border guards confronted them with live fire. Over two dozen were wounded, several seriously. Israel claimed warning shots only were fired.

Witnessing clashes firsthand, Ebaa Rezeq said Israeli forces opened fire after protesters managed to remove part of a border area metal fence. “People are falling here like flies,” he said. “Blood everywhere.”

Leehee Rothschild said ambulance sirens “combine(d) with the screams to create a horrible cacophony.”

“Once again, I’m struggling to find the words to describe eyes which are blinded by clouds of tear-gas, and the foul smell of the skunk water that creeps through the nose. All senses are consumed, and the rubber coated bullets are buzzing around, they’re shooting them from canons now, ten at once.”

Bloody Friday won’t easily be forgotten. Nor will other days marked by Israeli state terror. Hardly any pass without it. Why else do Palestinians resist to be free?

One day they will be because courage that resolute pays off. Remembering the six Land Day victims provides inspiration. A Sakhnin cemetery monument bears their names and inscription saying:

“They sacrificed themselves for us to live.” Two sculptors created the monument, one Jewish, the other Arab. Perhaps it’s a good omen.

A Final Comment

Israeli border police use pepper spray as they detain an injured Palestinian
protester during clashes on Land Day after Friday prayers outside Damascus
Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City March 30, 2012. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
On April 25, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined, “Occupied Lives: Marking Land Day, marking lives,” saying:

Peaceful Palestinian demonstrations faced Israeli violence. One death was reported. Dozens more were injured, including 18 children. Commenting on the day, Mahmoud Khaled Mahmoud Abed Nabi said:

He “was shot in the chest. The bullet entered on the left of my chest and exited from my right side. It was fired from a watchtower in the fence.”

The incident occurred at Beit Hanoun checkpoint near Israel’s border with Gaza.

“I had been to demonstrations before, marking different events,” said Mahmoud. “Land Day is a very important day because we have to defend our lands, which continue to be occupied by Israel. We have to sacrifice to protect them.”

“All the young people were going to the area to protest, because it is such a well-known day, even internationally. I marched with others and went beyond where the Gazan authorities were stopping people, and we headed towards the border.”

Mahmoud said soldiers shot tear gas, shouted threats through loudspeakers, and “started firing bullets directly at us. There were no warning shots.” They shot a few at a time. Those injured were taken out by motorbike.

He said his wounds were serious. He’s in pain and not improving. The bullet passed near his heart. He explained his family can’t afford costly antibiotics he needs to take. Infections are developing. He has difficulties breathing and sometimes throws up blood.

He was severely wounded earlier when Israeli soldiers shot him and a friend gathering wood during Cast Lead. Neither one fully recovered. Now this. If he survives, he worries about his future. “I cannot work in this condition,” he said. The pain’s too much to bear.

Israeli violence destroys many lives. Many survivors aren’t the same. International law mandated right to life didn’t help them.
 
State terror is official Israeli policy. Palestinian resistance won’t quit until it ends. One day it will. Bet on it.

Palestine…. A Moment of Reflection

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:25 AM

Global March to Jerusalem In Lebanon

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The Khiam prison is now open

*the thick fog in rural southern Lebanon hills was an ally to Lebanese resistance against the Zionist occupation soldiers in their hilltop military bases.
I go south to stay with M and his family, and over the next week see a number of Lebanon’s significant sites of resistance and victory over the Zionist occupation of southern Lebanon, including a former prison known for its torturing of prisoners, and various villages where Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance party, waged a resistance that eventually, in May 2000, drove the Zionists out of Lebanon. The sites and scars of the 34 day 2006 Israeli bombardment of Lebanon are remembered throughout the south and much of Lebanon. But unlike Gaza—where the over 4000 completely destroyed homes have still not been rebuilt thanks to a strangling siege which bans construction materials (among a great many other things)—Hezbollah was able to largely re-build the 15000 homes, 94 roads and over 70 bridges destroyed by IOF bombings [also destroyed: electrical power plants, 20 gas and fuel stations, 350 schools, food factories, dams, churches, mosques, hospitals, ambulances…] As we traverse the many villages and hamlets of the south, M notes person after person martyred by IOF bombings or during resistance, and points out villages where re-built homes disguise the IOF bombings six years ago.
Aside from the major southern city of Saida,and the smaller An Nabatiya further south, the area is largely rural, with overlapping hills and winding roads curling through valleys, Christian and Shia’a Muslim villages interspersed seamlessly. Olive, fruit and nut trees abound — as they formerly did in occupied Palestine before being bulldozer, stolen, burned and bombed by the Zionists — and roosters crow throughout the early morning. In the village, everyone are family or friends and families are tight. Every evening, relatives and friends drop in to visit M, talking and teasing for hours over tea, coffee and shared dinners.
The mountain backdrop provides both stunning scenery and history: many of the hilltops were occupied by IOF bases, optimal points from which to survey, shoot, and enforce the IOF occupation. M points out hilltop after hilltop where sometimes the remains of IOF bases can still be seen, and which—even without the visible reminder—locals have engraved in their memories. “During the daylight and tense periods, you couldn’t move along the roads and paths because the IOF would target you,” M says.
Many days the fog lies thickly over all but the base of the hill-mountains, some days so thick you can’t see beyond 10 meters. It was the resistance’s ally: “They’d move up the mountain in stages, using the fog as cover,” he says, explaining how resistance would take days under the cover of fog to climb up the hillside towards IOF military occupation bases, carrying everything they needed on their backs.
Until I go to Mleeta (site of Hezbollah resistance to the Israeli occupation, now a museum), I don’t grasp the significance of this: everything, from basic provisions to resistance weapons to desktop computers and infirmary equipment, was carried on their back; they endured harsh conditions and lived in simplicity for years in order to liberate Lebanon of the Israeli occupation, which they successfully did, driving the Zionists out in May 2000.
And yet, as we sip coffee on the balcony or walk through the hills, the sporadic roar of IOF fighter planes startles me: I’m well-accustomed to this violation of airspace and life from the fly-overs in Gaza, often accompanied by terrorizing sonic boom blasts…but this is Lebanon, the occupation is over. What are these planes doing still flying in Lebanese territory? “It’s psychological warfare,” M answers. Cease-fire in place since the end of the Israeli bombing in 2006, IOF warplanes and UAVs still taunt Lebanon.
Khiam, the torture prison:

We head further south, descending cool hills into the comparative heat, passing rolling fields of flowers, grazing sheep, olive trees. Serene and pastoral, it is the same terrain as Palestine, minus the Zionist presence. Here, when not being bombed by the IOF, life and the land can flourish as it is not allowed in occupied Palestine.
 
Beaufort Castle)—site of the Global March to Jerusalem and Palestinian Land Day celebrations in Lebanon on March 30—towers with a view and position to repel invaders from all directions. Used as an IOF base during the Zionist occupation of southern Lebanon, the castle—towering hundreds of metres above the Litani river—was ultimately a site to which Hezbollah resistance climbed up and waged attacks against the IOF occupiers.
To our west, perched mountain-ridge, Qalaat el-Chaqif (the
They went up there. Imagine.
Look at all that rock,” M muses.
Continuing south, we pass the Litani river and on to Khiam, a mixed Shia’a Muslim and Christian village. A roadside sign points out El Madrasa Issa Ibn Mariam (School of Jesus, son of Mary). “You see, in the heart of a Shia’a village there are Christians living uninterrupted,” M tells us. He’s already pointed out the scattered Christian villages around his area and the mutual Christian and Shia’a support for Hezbollah for their resistance to and victory over the occupying Israeli army.
Our car twists up the road through the village, the snow-topped Jebal el Sheik (Mount Hermon) emerging and dominating the eastern landscape, and arrives at the former Khiam prison. A chipped, hand-written sign announces:“the prison is open.”

The prison, M says, was built by the French in ’33, originally a military post, but from 1984 to 2000 was used by the occupying Israeli army as a prison for both women and men. His brother, imprisoned there in ’84-’85, motions to the small cement building at the entrance to the prison on which a sign reads: “A room for meetings every three months after the entrance of the Red Cross.” No, he says, when I ask if he was ever visited by the Red Cross. As we enter the former prison, he begins pointing out familiar rooms, like the torture chambers and the cells. We pass a large sign, the faces and names of 10 martyrs of the prison, killed through torture, he says. Among the ten is a man in his fifties, head covered in traditional white scarf and face like that of a farmer.



*torture victims and rooms in Khiam prison

A former prisoner, now a guide for the open prison, tells us that another 6 prisoners died as a result of their illnesses which their keepers would not allowed to be treated.

I was a prisoner here for 4 years,”he says. “I was released on ‘Liberation Day’.” On 25 May, 2000, with the expulsion of occupying Israeli forces, prisoners were set free. “In 2006, the Israelis bombed Khiam heavily, for revenge, to destroy this symbol and real history of the power of the resistance.” They were, he explains, pissed off at their 2000 expulsion. The bombing destroyed many of the complex’s buildings and killed 4 UNIFIL posted at Khiam who right up until their deaths had been pleading for the IOF to stop bombing.

The Guardian reported:
Israel suffers some of its most severe criticism from the west after an air strike kills four UN observers at Khiyam in southern Lebanon, despite 10 warnings from UN officials that they were in the building. UN secretary general Kofi Annan calls the strike “apparently deliberate” and asks Israel to investigate the attack.

Behind the prison, with a view overlooking occupied Palestine kilometres away,a monument to the martyred UNIFIL soldiers reads “in the service of peace”. A swath of trees grows near the actual site of the bombing, “but the resistance didn’t want to take land belonging to civilians, so they built the moment over here,” roughly 20 metres away.

The ruins of the prison, and other ruins I see throughout the day, are like those of Gaza: melted roofs on piles of rubble, metal support beams jutting out at painful angles. Beyond the ruined and partially standing prison buildings, a 10x10m crater from the one ton and other gargantuan bombs the IOF dropped, the same craters I saw in Gaza. In Gaza, some of the craters were twice as large, but I’m told that the case is likewise in Lebanon, with the added insult of the millions of cluster bombs the IOF dropped in the final three days of its 34 day 2006 assault on Lebanon. [Human Rights Watch reports: “The UN Mine Action Coordination Centre South Lebanon (MACC SL) has estimated that Israel fired cluster munitions containing as many as 4 million submunitions,” citing “as many as one million hazardous unexploded submunitions that (litter) fields and orchards and dozens of towns and villages in south Lebanon, threatening the returning civilian population.”]
Later, driving along the road from Khiam, we pass a sign for the de-mining of these deadly, illegal cluster bombs.
Our former prisoner/guide gives us the tour: over the years, the prison held 5000, including 500 women, in 4 small cell blocks and numerous torture rooms of varying sizes.
We pass the shell of a 1 ton bomb, mounted on a stand, a reminder of the 2006 Israeli assault. Between an array of Israeli tanks and numerous missiles and rocket launchers, 2 examples of the resistance’s missiles stand amidst the prison rubble and IOF weaponry graveyard, a Hezbollah flag fluttering above them, the missiles and the flag reminders of their victory.
Despite the gross imbalance of power (Israeli high-tech military tanks, jeeps, warplanes and US-made bombs), during Israel’s occupation of much of Lebanon and during the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, the Hezbollah resistance—lacking such military might—were able to face and drive out the IOF. Flanking the path to the cells, rows of poster-sized photos depict ‘Liberation Day’, when prisoners were released and families united: wives hug husbands and sons kneel at their mothers’ feet (likewise for the female prisoners held at Khiam).

The guide walks up to a metal, ladder-like pole—behind which a tangle of razor wire marks the prison walls—and re-enacts the exhausted sag of a prisoner strapped naked by one arm to the pole for hours, too tired to stand, unable to sit, and tortured all the while.
Prisoners were also hung upside-down, completely naked, from the metal pole, says the guide. “They put a tight cover over our heads. Soldiers would pass by and hit us, kick us in the head. In winter — it’s very cold here,it snows — the prison guards would douse us with hot water and cold water while whipping and beating us…hot, cold, hot, cold… and when the prisoner was completely soaked the guards would bring an electrical charge and electrocute us.”

A, one of M’s brothers, endured the various means of torture. Good-natured and humourous, he isn’t ashamed to display his scars: as I film him re-living his imprisonment and torture, he smiles humbly and shoves his stubby, melted fingertips forward for me to see, results of repeated electrocution.
At the same metal pole, A demonstrates another torture position, standing with both arms strapped up high.
They strapped me to this pole from 8pm to 2 am every night for 8 months. While I was locked to this pole, they beat me with a whip and batons all over…on my back, my shoulders, my legs…After that, from 2 am they’d take me to another room, where another 6 prisoners were and start shocking us. I was tortured by my own pain and that of my cellmates (hearing the screaming of other inmates is yet another form of psychological terror).”
At the same time, families of the imprisoned suffered as they knew of the torture going on — word traveled from those released or of those who died of torture.
Collaborators would come by the house, offering to get a prisoner released if paid for it,” M tells me. Another type of psychological torture…giving false hope when release was impossible.
The “visits,” when family members would stand outside the Khiam prison to view their loved ones who were rooftop-only, occurred thanks to bribes to prison guards.
Our guide, while explaining the prison life, speaks with the familiarity of one who has given this speech before, and one who has endured untold cruelty at the hands of his captors. Nonetheless, he doesn’t describe in detail what his the prison guards did to his wife, saying only, detachedly: “They used to bring our wives and sisters and torment us by being vulgar to them, threatening them…When I hadn’t given in after 5 months of detention and torture, they brought my wife, took off her headscarf, and stripped her naked…I can’t talk about the rest.”

The guide and A take us to a telephone booth-sized cement isolation cell, oven-like during summer months, freezing during the winter.
“I was held in this room, a 1m x 1m cement block, for 2 months. They’d put a bag over my head and leave me in this concrete cell day and night, with a bucket for a toilet,” says A.

The soldiers would bang the metal door with metal rods ever so often,” he says, the guide demonstrating with a rock. Even from outside the cell the clanging is painful; inside, every ten or fifteen minutes it would have been excruciating. “I wasn’t allowed out of this cell for 2 months; no exercise, no fresh air.”
He points upward to a small hole in the ceiling, his only source of light and air, and a conduit for rain to flood into his cell.
But there was worse.

The guide leads us to another room, where a file cabinet sized metal box sits. He opens the box door and mimes being cuffed behind the back. “This was called the ‘chicken house’. They’d put a bag over my head and kick and kick me until they could shove me inside.” He slams the metal door shut, picks up a rock and bashes the top of the box repeatedly.” They’d do this for about 2 or 3 hours, only they used a metal rod not a rock, much louder.”

Bending over, he draws a line with his hand, cutting the box halfway to that of a container just above knee height. “There was another box made of cement. They called it the ‘sardine’ box,” he says, clapping his hands together as though crushing something, effectively how one would feel stuffed inside the ‘sardine’.

Back near the prison complex entrance, we enter a display room where a miniature model depicts the prison (before the IOF bombed it). A display case houses various instruments used to torture prisoners, including one similar to a car battery, used to electrocute prisoners.

They put a wire around a finger of each hand, around the waist, and on the head,” A demonstrates with his mutilated fingertips. Also on display, a panel of hand-made stitching and prayer beads. The guide pulls out a denim backpack with zippers. “I was arrested in these pants. Later, I made them into a backpack to carry my things in.” He points out flowery wall-hanging of coloured beads. “I worked the names of my wife and children into it,” he says. [I am reminded of Palestinian prisoners I’ve met in occupied Palestine who crafted similar things, using olive pits to make prayer beads…or incredible projects like Anwar (a medic in Rafah, Gaza Strip) who crafted an ornate sailboat and the Dome of the Rock, using pieces of wood, beads and the ample time of being imprisoned by the occupation.]


Another display holds remnants of IOF bombs used on the prison, including an American-made “smart bomb” M notes. The walls are adorned with various photos of former prisoners, resistance martyrs, and one, the guide laughs as he points it out, of IOF soldiers sinking into Lebanese mud.

He shows us IOF uniforms left behind, and pulls out a IOF jacket, pointing to the Hebrew letters for “IDF” then pointing to a photo in which Hezbollah resistance spelled “IDF” in Hebrew using IOF boots. As he reaches the glass-encased model of the prison, he takes the IOF jacket and begins shining the glass. “We use this for cleaning,” he laughs, “but it doesn’t clean anything.”

Later, back at M’s with various siblings and relatives sitting around talking, the Khiam visit comes up and they start talking of the imprisonment of their loved ones. M’s mother—a feisty and very kind woman—suffered not only the imprisonment and torture of M’s brother A but of her husband and various relatives. Recalling those years, they argue over dates of loved ones’ imprisonment, one man using his own period of imprisonment as a reference to figure out the date of his cousin’s.

A relative tells me of his imprisonment in Palestine and in a different prison complex called Ansar, closer to Nabatiya:
On June 6, 1982, the Israelis invaded Lebanon again. On July 7, the Israeli army took me from my house when I was sleeping. I wasn’t a member of the resistance, but I was vocal about supporting Palestinians. They took 30 other the same night, taking us to a prison in (occupied) Palestine, as the Khiam prison wasn’t in use yet.

After 1 month, we were transferred to Ansar prison, which consisted of 31 prison camps, 500 prisoners per camp. It wasn’t just Lebanese and Palestinians, there were Syrians, Bangladeshis,…many foreigners in Lebanon at that time were rounded up and treated like the Israelis treat Palestinians. After 6 months, they separated the foreigners and sent them back to their countries, leaving just Lebanese and Palestinians in the prison.

They tortured us during the initial stage of our imprisonment. They’d beat us with sticks and shock us with electricity… to try to make us confess something.

Our food was sparse. We got half an egg per person or half a piece cheese and 1 piece toast per meal. When we were allowed to bathe, we had to use cold water year round. And we had to go to bathroom in front of everyone, in buckets.

After a long time, they realized they had nothing on us and didn’t want to care for us, so they began releasing us as it cost them money to imprison us.

I was 20 years old.


more:
There are approximately 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners inside Israeli jails. Palestinians, living under occupation and oppression for nearly 64 years, have been targeted for mass imprisonment and detention by the Israeli occupation. Nearly every Palestinian family has been touched by political imprisonment – a father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, cousin, uncle, aunt. Since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians from those areas have been held as political prisoners – one out of every four Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. Forty percent of Palestinian men in the West Bank and Gaza have spent some time in occupation jails.
NO CHARGE? NO TRIAL? NO JUSTICE!
320 Palestinians are currently held under administrative detention, including 24 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. It is renewable indefinitely for repeated periods of up to six months. Palestinians held under administrative detention are not charged with any crime, nor are they brought to trial even before the Israeli occupation’s rigged military courts.

Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention since the beginning of the Israeli occupation and before that time, under the British Mandate. The Palestinian hunger strikers whose cases have attracted much recent attention, Khader Adnan and Hana’ Shalabi, were both held under administrative detention.

The Canadian government is complicit in Israel’s ongoing use of mass imprisonment against the Palestinian people when it vocally supports Israeli aggression in the UN and around the world.
Despite the harsh conditions of imprisonment, the frequent use of isolation, ransacking of cells, confiscation of media, and denial of access to education among Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is central to the Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation. Palestinian prisoners are not only victims of an unjust and oppressive legal/military structure – they are part of an entire people seeking their freedom and liberation, including the end of occupation, the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and full rights for all Palestinians.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Pakistani Activist: Palestinians Should Resist ’’Israel’’ as Lebanon’s Hizbullah

“Hizbullah Victories, Example of anti-’’Israel’’ Resistance”

Siraj Kobeissy

“Towards al-Quds (Jerusalem)” was their slogan, and so was their true dignified path.

They are the free people who chose to walk in the path of right; carrying nothing but the weapons of justice, liberty and freedom.

The world witnessed how last week people gathered in several Arab cities to mark the anniversary of the Palestinian “Land Day”, which became an international day with “The Global March to al-Quds (Jerusalem).”

Among the figures taking part in the march in Lebanon was Pakistani activist Sabir Karbalai, member of the Palestine Foundation of Pakistan, and who is aware of the priceless value of the sacred sanctities.

Karbalai is a PHD student at Pakistan’s Karachi University, and his major research is specialized in the Middle East affairs, especially in light of the latest international wars against it.

In an interview with moqawama.org, he indicated that his organization, Palestine Foundation of Pakistan, took part in the Global March to al-Quds (Jerusalem) in good faith to stress the true stance with the Palestinian cause.

Karbalai indicated that the Palestine Foundation of Palestine was established by students at the Karachi University almost 4 years ago, after the 2008-2009 “Israeli” aggression on Gaza.

The Pakistani activist noted that the some 36 Pakistani activists who participated in the Global March to al-Quds (Jerusalem) started their march on March 14, as they met with other activists in Malaysia, India, Iran, until they came to Lebanon.

“We finally came to Lebanon to participate in the global gathering in the Shakif Fort in the South, to show solidarity with the Palestinians against the “Israeli” occupation and practices,” Sabir Karbalai stated.

On this level, he asserted that “through this global march, we tend to make all Palestinian national days international, like international al-Quds (Jerusalem) day and now the Land Day.”

Karbalai went on to say that the global march to al-Quds (Jerusalem) boosts the international concern regarding the Palestinian cause, amid escalating Judaizing schemes.

“Before, when I was still a child, my father used to tell me that Inshalla (God Willing) al-Quds (Jerusalem) and all of Palestine will be freed,” Karbalai indicated.

“Today, after all activists and movements taking part in the global march, the equation changed and became; we will free Palestine,” he further added, with reference to the perseverance of the international anti-“Israeli” activists.

On his second visit to Lebanon, the Pakistani activist praised Lebanon’s experience in resisting the “Israeli” occupation.

“Lebanon is strong, and its people are great. They were able to defeat the “Israeli” occupation in a defiant way,” Sabir Karbalai reiterated.

“The 2000 and 2006 victories of Hizbullah in Lebanon are an example of the anti-“Israel” resistance, as should happen in Palestine,” he asserted.

Moreover, he indicated that the people of Palestine should walk on the path of resistance like the Lebanese people, especially Hizbullah, did in order to defeat the enemy and liberate their land from the occupation.

Let the weak voices rise with outstanding echoes filling the world chanting “Free Palestine We Shall”.

Source: moqawama.org

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MK Asks ’’Israel’’ To Punish Rabbis for Meeting Hizbullah, Denouncing Zionist Entity

Local Editor

“Israel’s” so-called democracy and freedom of speech proves to be faked when it comes to denouncing the Zionist entity.

“Israeli” Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad belonging to the so-called “National Union” asked the “Israeli” Attorney General Monday to investigate Neturei Karta group for meeting with Hizbullah officials in Beirut on Sunday.
Karta is an anti-Zionist Jewish Hasidic group that continuously declares that “the establishment of the Zionist entity is a major sin.”

Karta participated in Lebanese rallies of the Global March to al-Quds commemorating the Land Day. The delegation of rabbis met Hizbullah officials including The Deputy Head of Hizbullah’s Executive Council His Eminence, Sheikh Nabil Qaouk.

Hizbullah released an official statement that the Neturei Karta delegation, which included Rabbi “Israel” David Weiss, had come to show its support for “Land Day,” which was officially commemorated last Friday.

“Jewish identity has been stolen by Zionism,” Rabbi Weiss said to the attendees and encouraged Hizbullah to continue its efforts “to be free of the presence of “Israel” in the Middle East.”

In an interview with “al-Intiqad” website, Weiss further confirmed that “as the “Israeli” crimes still continue to the permanent day, they are shameful for us, as Jewish people, since this is being done in our name and our religion.”

He also prayed and hoped that “the state of “Israel” is dismantled.”

Source: JP, Edited by moqawama.org
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Sayyed Nasrallah: Dialogue for Syria, Justice for Bahrain, Freedom for Palestine

Local Editor

Sayyed Nasrallah during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut FridayStressing that the people of Bahrain is an Arab people insisting on the peaceful option but being killed every day, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said that the option of foreign military intervention in Syria was clearly no longer an issue.

During the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut Friday, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that “the situation in Syria requires a political solution which Hezbollah was calling for since the first day of the crisis.

“UN envoy Kofi Annan’s act in Syria was not based on the Arab League initiative, which means that the option of foreign military intervention in Syria was clearly no longer an issue,” his eminence said.

Sayyed Nasrallah added that only a political solution could resolve the crisis in Syria.

“The political solution is based on two things: dialogue between the regime and the opposition, and reforms.”

Audience during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut Friday“Anything else is neither in the interest of Syria and its people nor in the interest of Palestine. It would be only in Israel’s interest and in the interests of those who want to push the region towards total chaos, which is sought by the Americans,” he warned.

His eminence noted that “there is a decline in the international situation affected the by the status on ground, where the armed opposition is unable to bring down the regime.”

“The bid to overthrow the Syrian regime militarily has failed and has significant costs,” he said.

His eminence also ruled out any “foreign military intervention” in the country, saying the U.S. is “weaker than being able” to engage in a military action against Syria given that “they were defeated in Iraq and are facing a dire situation in Afghanistan.”

Moving to the revolution in Bahrain, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that “it is normal for Syria to receive regional and international attention, where three summits were held yesterday while the world’s high-influence countries sat on the table, but it is abnormal and rather condemned that the issue of Bahrain is being overlooked.”

Sayyed Nasrallah during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut Friday“What’s happening in Bahrain is a national tragedy, as there are hundreds of people who are demonstrating and people who are demanding a peaceful solution are being killed every day,” Nasrallah said, accusing the Bahraini regime of “hiring mercenaries” and firing “poisonous gases” against “homes, women and children.”

“This is a type of premeditated murder (with lethal gas bombs),” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding “this ignorance increases the injustice, but will not affect the morale and determination of the Bahraini people who suffer this situation since the start of their revolutiond.”

On Land Day, his eminence noted that it is one of Palestine’s and al-Quds (Jerusalem) days.

“This commemoration has a great significance for it expresses the adherence to Right, Cause, Land and Holy Sites.”

Sayyed Nasrallah believed that Israel is mocking the Arab world and Arab summits with its tendency to seize more pieces of West Bank territory, noting that Palestine remained the first priority due to many factors, particularly the factor of resistance “which kept this cause alive till today.”

“All attempts to root out the Palestinian cause had been failed, despite spending millions of dollars for that purpose,” he stressed, even though “occupiers and conspires want the Palestinian people and our nation to forget Palestine and to give up to this de facto.”

Audience during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut FridayHis eminence made clear that “the nation does not shoulder responsibility even though it is able to achieve victories. It has significant potential to easily retrieve Palestine and al-Quds.”

Sayyed Nasrallah expressed believes that the future of our region is the future of resistance ideology.

Turning to local affairs, Hezbollah Secretary General said that the government must “work night and day” and in a “serious” manner even if its survival depended on the political factors and the developments in Syria, calling on some parties to “reevaluate” their calculations “given that the general course of things in Syria has become clear.”

“It is true that there are some details and problems and that the security situation needs some time (to return to normalcy) in Syria … but the inclination is clear and thus there’s no need for futile bets,” his eminence said during his televised speech.

“This reevaluation would leave an impact on the internal situations in Lebanon,” he added.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that “the government’s survival is in the interest of the country’s security and stability,” calling on the government to be “productive.”

He noted that the rival camp’s “bets on the government’s failure are futile,” adding that “politics topple and make governments in Lebanon.”

“This government must make achievements and must work night and day, even if there is a vote of confidence tomorrow,” he went on to say.

“Politically speaking, the government will survive and that is not because Hezbollah wants it to survive. This is untrue. The political factors and the events in Syria are going in that direction and this is what indicates that the government will stay,” Sayyed Nasrallah added.

His eminence called on the government to shoulder its responsibilities to tackle people’s livelihood issues, concerning “their security, dignity, finances and health.”

Source: Al-Manar Website

31-03-2012 – 10:00 Last updated 31-03-2012 – 10:24

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Land Day in West Bank

Two of our friends were among the over >150 people injured today by the Israeli occupation forces.

Demonstrations were held in dozens of locations in Palestine and the border areas of Palestine. Other demosntrations were held for Land Day in cities around the world. The ambulance took our friend and home guest Don Bryant (US Citizen) to the hospital as he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister. We quickly gathered the rest of the group and rushed to the hospital. There we find many injured people (I counted 8 in the emergency room and two at the X-ray). One of the injured there was our friend Yusef Sharqawi hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet that fractured his shoulder blade.
 
 
Mohamed Zakout, 20 year old was shot and kileld by Israeli forces in Gaza as he participated in a demonstration near the Erez checkpoint. In Jerusalem, Israeli occupation forces used horses to trample on people and arrested 36 individuals. Before all is done Israel will likely to arrest 300 people. Below is our video and other relevant videos.
Some of my students have more logic/sense than the political leadership of the USA, Israel and the “Palestinian authority” combined. For example, last week we had a lively discussion about roles of politiciansin creating the problems and perpetuuating the disastrous human rights violations here. I don’t teach this course human rights but I coach it so after we exchanged significant information about these issues all of it showing the bad things of politics (collaborations, agreements of surrender, etc), I asked to take time for us to talk just about the positives (no negatives). I was surprised at some of the good comments that came out: persistance of the Palestinain people, demonstrations and many forms of popular resistance happening, the fact that rights are not lost for people even when their leadershuip is corrupt and weak, the fact that many were martyred/injured/imprisoned for their work for Palestine, the fact that while some collaborated and even sold their conscience and tehir heritabe, more simply refused ……
So it is that we can always look at the glass half empty or half full. We can always curse the darkness or light a candle and hope for the best. We can feel depressed and powerless or we can actually do something. I was anxious before the demonstrations today. Our mind racing to worry about level of participation/attendance and about Israeli authorities’ violent reaction to peaceful demonstrators (there is afterall a long history of that including shooting at unarmed demonstrators). We have to remind myself of the positives and forget all the negatives (or at least just learn from them lessons and keep them in the back of our mind). The march was a success even before it started. The thousands who tried to arrive to us here in Palestine got an education THROUGH the process of preparing to come to nearby boerders and they each told many othesr where they are going and why. This ripple effect that started montsh before today’s events is critical. Here are a few other positives before, during and after this event today:
-37 Indian activists were stranded in a ship off the port of Beirut for 36 hours. Activists in India mobilized speaking to parliamentarians and other officials and the indian embassy was able to get the Lebanese government to finally issue the visas for them. This ensured that more people because aware of our predicament here: not only the Zionist regime but the collision sometiems of Arab regimes. It also meant more avtivism in india will be growing and more boycotts, divestments and sanctions.
– Hundreds of actvists from different countries did not know about each other or their common interests until this event. The process of linking together via physical meetings and internet empowered many of them and they became more active in their local communities. I know of several example where new projects (e.g. on boycotts divestment, sacnction, different ways of media work etc) were started in some copuntries or localities because they learned from the networking with other activists.
-Activists learned via doing how to work in team efforts, how to make collective decisions etc. These skills are useful for any kind of collective work.
-The attempts by the Zionist manipulated media to hide and ignore the brutality of the apartheid regime is backfiring. More and more people stopped seeking news via these corporate outlets and started to get news directly via blogs, live feed, email etc.
-Israeli Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said about the events today “It’s important to remember that this is the first day. The Nakba and Naksa days are ahead of us, and that is where the challenge will be.” It is obvious that they start to worry!
I could go on to list a few more. But we need now to focus on our next events : the Welcopme to Palestine Campaign for 15-21 April. We do need people to work hard on this (volunteers are always welcome). Action is the best antidote to despair.
 
Our video in Bethlehem: http://youtu.be/7U1qQVqVnsM
 
Other videos

Pictures


Israel Defense Ministry plan earmarks 10 percent of West Bank for settlement expansion. Newly released maps indicate Civil Administration secretly setting aside additional land for Jewish settlements, presumably with the intention of expanding them. By Akiva Eldar

More links/news on this land day events
Thousands of demonstrators mark Land Day in Jordan
Rabbis of Anti-Zionist Group Join Protest Marking Land Day on Lebanon-Israel Border
Why Land Day still matters: Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.
By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

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