30 March 2021 marks the 45th Palestinian Land Day, a day of struggle and commitment to resisting colonization, occupation and apartheid, and to achieving victory and liberation for the land and people of Palestine.
Land Day commemorates the anniversary of the mass rising in occupied Palestine ’48 in 1976 in response to Israeli land confiscation targeting 20,000 dunums of Palestinian land in the Galilee. Palestinians inside occupied Palestine ’48, who remained on their land after 80% of their people were expelled in the Nakba, confronted these new Zionist attacks with a general strike and mass popular protests, where six Palestinians were killed by occupation forces — Kheir Mohammad Salim Yasin, Khadija Qasem Shawahneh, Raja Hussein Abu Rayya, Khader Eid Mahmoud Khalayleh, Muhsin Hasan Said Taha and Raafat Ali Al-Zheir — as they defended their land.
The Day of the Land has become a national commemoration of the entire Palestinian people, inside and outside occupied Palestine. It marks the unity of the Palestinian people in confronting Zionism, colonization and occupation and in celebrating the continuing and unbreakable ties to the land of Palestine that cannot be erased by military might. It is a day for the Palestinian refugees struggling for return and every fighter against colonialism.
In 2018, the Day of the Land once again bore witness to the popular organizing of the people, as thousands upon thousands gathered in Gaza for the Great March of Return, and occupation forces again shot down Palestinians defending their land and upholding their rights. 42 years after the first Land Day massacre, Israeli occupation forces killed 16 martyrs of the land and return, with over 200 more shot down in the marches over the months and days to come.
On Land Day, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network affirms that this day continues to reflect the commitment of the Palestinian people to liberate their land from the river to the sea and to resist all forms of colonization. We join with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine for the #AllLandPalestine campaign, raising the Palestinian flag and the map of Palestine around the world.
Just as Palestinians in ’48 face state violence, land confiscation, and the racist policies of Zionism from Umm al-Fahm to al-Naqab, they also confront imprisonment, arrests and repression. Behind bars in Israeli jails, Palestinians continue to confront the occupier on a daily basis. 70 of those political prisoners — of approximately 4,400 in total — are those of occupied Palestine ’48, housed with fellow Palestinians and facing the same restrictions and denial of rights. Karim Younis, one of the longest-imprisoned Palestinian prisoners, is from Occupied Palestine ’48 as is his cousin Maher; indeed, six of the seven Palestinian prisoners imprisoned over 30 years for their role in the Palestinian resistance are from Occupied Palestine ’48: Karim and Maher Younis, Walid Daqqa, Rushdi Abu Mukh, Ibrahim Abu Mukh and Ibrahim Bayadseh.
They have been consistently denied release in both prisoner exchanges with the Palestinian resistance and in Oslo-negotiations-based prisoner releases, as the Israeli state attempts to separate them as “Israeli citizens” from their fellow Palestinian prisoners in releases and labels them a “domestic matter“. At the same time, they are housed with fellow Palestinian prisoners, denied family visits, forced to see family only through glass, and held in solitary confinement while Israeli “criminal” prisoners – and even the rare Israeli Jewish prisoner held as a “security” prisoner for extreme-right violence – are granted temporary releases, their sentences limited and lowered, and allowed lengthy family visits, furloughs, and conjugal visits.
Today, from Umm al-Fahm to al-Naqab to Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians are fighting to stand steadfast against displacement, defend their land and resist colonization in all forms on Land Day. Palestinian refugees in Gaza, in the West Bank, in the camps and in exile and diaspora around the world are fighting to return home.
On Land Day, we stand with the Palestinian people, we stand with the Palestinian resistance, and we look forward together toward a liberated future for the land and people of Palestine.
Read our statement below — first delivered in Arabic (read the original Arabic here) in Berlin by Samidoun Deutschland at a demonstration — and join in the actions to organize for return and liberation for #AllLandPalestine on the 45th Land Day and beyond:
On the immortal occasion of Land Day, from the heart of the capitals of the Palestinian diaspora, from the refugee camps, from across the occupied Arab land of Palestine, our cries resound to the skies and we declare on this occasion: “We will not concede.” We remain, generation after generation, carrying the memory of Palestine from the river to the sea, carrying al-Lyd, Haifa, Ramleh, Yafa and Jerusalem in our hearts.
We, the children of the land, the refugees, we learned Palestine in the squares of the camps, and we realized the idea of Palestine at the checkpoints. We grew up with our dreams under siege, and we greeted our Palestinian people on the other side of the wall as we raised the hammer of promise for future liberation.
From Berlin and Malmö, to Beddawi camp and al-Wihdat, to al-Arroub and Jabalia, and to our Palestinian people everywhere, we are here today, continuing in direct confrontation and struggling for land and liberation in the heart of the states that provide support for the Zionist regime. We affirm that our return is inevitable and our message is clear: We hold fast to return and liberation and emphasize that we will claim our right to life and expose the crimes of the Zionist occupation.
On this Land Day, we honor our immortal martyrs and salute the brave prisoners inside Israeli prisons and those of the reactionary Arab regimes, and particularly salute Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, jailed in the prisons of the French state. We stand with the democratic and revolutionary forces everywhere in the world and by the side of our comrades in the Palestine solidarity movement in France, Germany, Canada and everywhere, those who are today facing persecution, repression and “lawfare” attacks for defending the just cause of the Palestinian people.
Despite the ongoing colonial settlements invading Palestinian land, the series of normalization deals with reactionary regimes, the complicity of the imperialist powers; despite the siege and poverty and our second exile and displacement; despite the betrayal of Palestinian Authority “security coordination” and the policies of submission and concession; and despite the false promises of the so-called “peace process”, we are confident: Palestine and its people will be victorious.
On Land Day, on this immortal commemoration, we call on the Palestinian and Arab communities to participate, defend their rights and intensify participation in all activities for Palestine, especially the campaigns of solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, Palestinian women prisoners and the imprisoned students in occupation jails. We must intensify the boycott campaigns against Israel alongside our role in confronting Western imperial racism, the growing right-wing extreme attacks and Islamophobia, together with all targeted communities. This is part and parcel of our quest for liberation and return.
Together, we must work for an alternative revolutionary path and a new movement of organizing, struggle and resistance, in which the Palestinian diaspora will regain its role and its right to defend Palestine, all of Palestine, as an integral part of the project of liberation and return. From Berlin, Amsterdam and Malmö, to Mar Elias, Baqaa and Yarmouk, to all of Palestine.
We win together, and we win only together. From the Naqab to the Galilee, until return and liberation.
Take Action on Land Day and Moving Forward:
1. Join the #AllLandPalestine social media campaign of the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. Raise the Palestinian flag and post with the hashtag #AllLandPalestine.
2. Boycott Israel! Join the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Highlight the complicity of corporations like Hewlett-Packard and the continuing involvement of G4S in Israeli policing and prisons. Boycott Teva, the Israeli pharmaceutical corporation that provides millions to the Israeli occupation and its military, and join the campaigns — like those of Palestine Action in the UK — confronting Israeli warmongers like Elbit Systems. Build a campaign to boycott Israeli goods, impose a military embargo on Israel, or organize around the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
3. Support Palestinian Prisoners: Join the campaign to free Palestinian students and all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. Adopt a prisoner, write a letter, share their stories and build global solidarity to break down prison walls!
4. Organize for Palestinian freedom! The Alternative Palestinian Path (Masar Badil) is organizing a series of events, actions and Palestinian movement-building activities to break clearly with the false path of Madrid and Oslo and develop the movement for Palestinian liberation and return. The conference will take place in late October-early November in Madrid. Visit the Masar Badil website and get involved.
- Land Day in Palestine (contemporary report of first Land Day) PFLP Bulletin, March/April 1976
- Day of the Land (report on 6th Land Day), PFLP Bulletin, March 1982
- Land, the Central Issue of Zionist Strategy (Report on eighth Land Day), Democratic Palestine, May 1984
- Land Day 1976 in Vancouver – Canada Palestine Association