Land Day 2023: From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

We mark the 47th Palestinian Land Day on 30 March 2023. On this occasion, the Palestinian people throughout Palestine, from the river to the sea and everywhere in exile and diaspora, express their unity and consistent dedication to the liberation of all of the land of Palestine. This day underlines the reality: that the land and its liberation is the necessary condition for the liberation of Palestine. As it marks the great uprising of Palestinians in occupied Palestine ’48 of 1967, this day also points toward the unity of the land and the struggle for return and liberation, as a day of living struggle to uproot colonialism from Palestine.

This day is an occasion to celebrate, intensify and uphold Palestinian resistance to Zionism, colonialism, apartheid and occupation, recalling those whose lives have been stolen in defense of the land and people of Palestine, and to organize and struggle for return and liberation, from the river to the sea.

As we mark the Palestinian Day of the Land, we salute the Palestinian prisoners, locked behind bars for their defense of their land and people. The prisoners’ movement just won a decisive victory one week ago before launching their mass hunger strike, defeating the attempts of Itamar Ben Gvir and the fascist regime he represents to roll back the rights they have obtained through decades of struggle. At the same time, there are still 4,800 Palestinian prisoners locked away from their land, including 900 jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.

On Land Day, we particularly urge all to highlight the case of Walid Daqqah, the Palestinian writer, intellectual and struggler for liberation, diagnosed in December 2022 with a rare form of bone cancer. From occupied Palestine ’48, he represents the spirit and the continuity of Land Day, even as he continues to resist for his life from his hospital bed, where he is in critical condition. On Land Day 2023, we affirm: Free the Land! Free Walid Daqqah and all Palestinian prisoners! 

Below we are publishing an updated version of our Land Day annual statement:

The Day of the Land: Land Defense Confronts Imperialism, Zionism and Colonialism

The Day of the Land began as an annual commemoration of the massive uprising of Palestinians in occupied Palestine ’48 against Zionist land confiscation in 1976, targeting tens of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land in the Galilee. The Palestinians of ’48 — Palestinian citizens of the Israeli settler colonial apartheid regime, survivors of the Nakba who remained on their land even as 80% of their fellow Palestinians were expelled — rose up to confront ongoing land confiscation and settlement, and the Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine with them. They launched large-scale protests and a general strike, and on 30 March 1976, six Palestinians were shot dead by the occupation forces as they resisted the expropriation of their land. Since that date, the Day of the Land has always reflected the unity of the Palestinian people and the unity of the land of Palestine.

On the 47th Land Day, we remember Kheir Mohammad Salim Yasin, Khadija Qasem Shawahneh, Raja Hussein Abu Rayya, Khader Eid Mahmoud Khalayleh, Muhsin Hasan Said Taha and Raafat Ali Al-Zheir and all the martyrs of Palestine who have given their lives and their freedom for the defense of Palestine, its land and its people. This day has become a national anniversary for the Palestinian people as a whole, inside Palestine and in exile, and an Arab and international day of Indigenous solidarity, land defense and collective struggle against imperialism and colonialism and the extraction of wealth and resources from the land of the people.

Land Day is a day of Palestinian popular and resistance unity. From occupied Palestine ’48, to Jerusalem and the West Bank, to the Gaza Strip, to the refugee camps and everywhere in exile and diaspora, Palestinians commemorate Land Day not only as a historical occasion but as a symbol of the ongoing, living and vibrant resistance that has remained unbroken despite years of military occupation, land confiscation, mass imprisonment, killings and dispossession. Land Day is a day of struggle for the return of Palestinian refugees and for the liberation of every inch of Palestinian land from colonialism.

We urge all supporters of Palestine to join us in Ottawa on 28-30 April 2023 for the Liberation Conference and the March of Liberation, which underline this relationship between the liberation of land and the liberation of peoples from imperialism, Zionism and colonialism of all forms.

In 2018, the Day of the Land once again marked the occasion of a mass outpouring of Palestinians in the streets, as thousands upon thousands gathered in Gaza for the Great March of Return, and occupation forces again shot down Palestinians defending their land and seeking their liberation. 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. Now, Palestinian farmers and fishers in Gaza continue to defend their land under siege, faced with daily attacks and the attempt to starve their resistance economy that nourishes the Palestinian people despite the imperialist, Zionist and reactionary collaboration against the.

As the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, affirmed in its statement for Land Day, “On this day 47 years ago, the masses of our Palestinian people re-aligned the compass of struggle once again, and etched with blood and sacrifice the meaning of the land and its position in the struggle, and in the memory of the entire Arab people from the ocean to the Gulf….Its vanguards remain struggling in Nazareth, Haifa, the Naqab, Yafa and Akka, confronting the war machine of colonialism, racism, exploitation and oppression….There is no place for coexistence with Zionism and racism, and there is no place for the Zionist entity, its institutions and its colonial regime on an inch of our occupied land from the river to the sea.”

Palestinian Resistance Protects the Land and People

Today, it is clear that the Palestinian resistance continues to live and thrive, rooted in the land itself. The May 2021 unity Intifada, the Battle of Seif al-Quds, in which Palestinians outside Palestine took to the streets of every global city with fellow movements fighting injustice and imperialism, in which Palestinians in ’48 rose up and claimed their land and cities, in which the resistance in Gaza led the battle, in which the Palestinians of Jerusalem and the West Bank confronted soldiers and settlers everywhere to defend Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Beita, al-Aqsa and all of Palestine — continues to reflect the bright future of resistance and revolution for Palestine and its people, even as the resistance blossoms daily in the West Bank and throughout occupied Palestine.

Today, organizations throughout occupied Palestine and funded in the imperialist powers, including the Jewish National Fund and an array of settler organizations, are using military might, their control of the Zionist regime and their access to funds to displace and dispossess Palestinians. In the Naqab, their actions target Palestinian Bedouins in particular, aiming to seize ever more land for colonization. In countries around the world, the JNF holds “Negev Dinners” to boast of their colonial efforts; many of these dinners and events are attended and celebrated by Western imperialist political leaders, while donations made to further colonialism in the Naqab are tax-deductible. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates, at the pinnacle of Arab reactionary regimes’ normalization with Zionism, welcomes to Arab land the same JNF responsible for its colonization.

Nevertheless, the Palestinian people and their resistance have made clear that the JNF’s plans and the “normalization” mandate will never be allowed to succeed. Palestinians continue to resist, defend and seek the liberation of their land by all means necessary, a natural right and a right protected even within the framework of international law, with the backing and participation of the people of the Arab nation and their resistance organizations from Yemen to Lebanon, and the support of all friends of justice and liberation movements in the world. Indeed, the  Palestinian resistance gives hope to all people around the world who resist imperialism and colonialism as a symbol of unbroken will in the face of massive military might as well as a material blow against the forces of occupation.

From the River to the Sea, Confronting Imperialism and Zionism

This day also highlights why it is critical to boycott and isolate the Israeli occupation, including agricultural products grown on stolen and colonized Palestinian land, often through the exploitation of Palestinian labour. This Ramadan, the campaign to boycott “Israeli” dates and support Palestinian farmers instead is particularly urgent. Campaigns like those of Palestine Action in the UK targeting Israeli arms dealers like Elbit Systems for direct action, and despite state repression, arrests and persecution, make clear that people’s resistance can defeat the warmongers of the occupation.

The colonization of Palestine is not carried out by the Israeli regime alone; it is funded and backed by Western imperialist powers, first and foremost, the United States, which provides $3.8 billion in annual military aid to the occupation, aiming to shield colonialism from the resistance of the indigenous Palestinian people. Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Australia continue to provide ongoing military, diplomatic and economic aid to the colonial project, ranging from “free trade” agreements that privilege profiteering from stolen Palestinian land and resources to arms sales and joint training to the use of state repression to target Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organizing. Despite the openly fascist forces in power, representing clearly the nature of the Zionist regime, these states have only escalated their security, economic and political cooperation with that regime, even if they issue mild critiques from time to time.

In fact, in almost all Western states, Palestinian resistance organizations are designated as “terrorist” and criminalized while those who fund settler-colonial terror against the Palestinian people are celebrated, protected and granted preferential charitable status. The Holy Land Foundation Five are imprisoned with sentences of up to 65 years in high-security U.S. prisons for doing nothing more than raising charitable funds for Palestine, while the “Friends of the IDF” are permitted to raise funds for an occupation army. In France, while the government attempts to dissolve Palestine solidarity organizations like the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, it has imprisoned Georges Abdallah, the Lebanese struggler for Palestine, for nearly 39 years. In Germany, Palestinian activists — and sometimes, simply Palestinian students — face criminalization, deportation threats and even arrest for commemorating the Nakba and demonstrating for Palestine. Nevertheless, Palestinians in exile and diaspora continue to hold fast to their return to their land, and all movements for justice and liberation globally continue to build support for its liberation.

Imperialism and Zionism also rely on Arab reactionary regimes and the program of normalization not only to grant false legitimacy to the colonization of Palestine but to attack and target Arab peoples and states that resist the dictates of imperial rule. In Yemen, thousands come to the street regularly to march for Palestine even as they face the bombs and siege imposed by reactionary Arab regimes, at the behest of and with weaponry provided by the Western powers, including the U.S. and Canada.

The Oslo Accords and their annexes and the entire so-called “peace process” were meant to wipe out the legacy and ongoing reality expressed on the Day of the Land, to replace Palestinian unity and resistance from the river to the sea with a limited claim to only a portion of Palestine, overseen by the “security coordination” subcontractors to the occupation, the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority continues to detain and arrest Palestinians in a “revolving door” with the Israeli occupation, criminalize and condemn Palestinian resistance, while the Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine work to develop their true unity in struggle, for return and liberation. The purpose of the Palestinian Authority is to undermine, rather than represent, the defense of the land and people of Palestine.

While the Palestinian struggle to defend land and seek full liberation is met with harsh repression, criminalization, assassination and imprisonment at the hands of the occupation and its backers and allies, it is also met with unified struggle, solidarity and collective support by the regional and global camp of resistance, nations, peoples and popular movements confronting imperialism, capitalism and exploitation, from Yemen to Iraq, from Brazil to the Philippines, from Zimbabwe to Wet’suwet’en.

On Land Day, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network honours and celebrates the struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their land from the river to the sea and to resist all forms of colonization. Land Day marks the unity of the Palestinian land, people, and cause, everywhere inside and outside Palestine, for defending and liberating the land and people of Palestine.

April 17 is Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, a national and international day of action for the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners, the prisoners of freedom, the prisoners of return and liberation. We urge all to organize and mobilize for 17 April and the week that follows, to liberate Palestinian prisoners. free the land and people of Palestine from the river to the sea, and confront imperialism and Zionism.

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