This year marks the 46th anniversary of Land Day, which commemorates the events of March 30, 1976, when six Palestinians from Arab villages inside the Green Line were shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting the confiscation of 5,500 acres of land from the Galilee. Since then, Land Day has been commemorated by Palestinians inside Israel as well as in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem and around the world | Five articles
In Palestine rallies and marches mark Land Day. In the towns where the six martyrs were killed 46 years ago, Palestinians lay wreaths at their graves.
Actions in support of Palestine are all the more important at this time when Zionists, aided and abetted by the U.S. imperialists and their allies such as Canada, continue their violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinians as part of an overall program of dispossession and genocide.
This year, on the occasion of Land Day, Dr. Ola Awad, President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), issued a statement in which she noted that Israel’s continuous confiscation of land from the Palestinians has resulted in Israeli control of 85 per cent of the total area of the lands of the historical Palestine. She also pointed out that the expansion of illegal settlements in Palestinian lands is accompanied by a growing number of violent attacks to displace the Palestinians. In 2021, 1,621 such attacks were recorded, up 49 per cent from 2020. The attacks included the uprooting, destroying and burning of 19,000 trees, 76 shootings, 30 levelling operations of citizens’ lands and burning, destroying or damaging cars and vehicles of 450 Palestinian citizens. She pointed out that since the beginning of 2021, settlers have established 10 new outposts for the seizure and control of Palestinian lands. The settlers carry out these attacks under the protection of the Israeli military.
Dr. Awad pointed to the occupation’s ongoing practice of expanding settlements and demolishing Palestinian buildings under various pretexts, noting that “During 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities approved the construction of more than 12 thousand settlement units, most of them in Jerusalem, at a time that the Israeli occupation authorities demolished more than 300 buildings and issued demolition orders for more than 200 Palestinian buildings… During 2021, the Israeli occupation demolished 1,058 buildings in Palestine (353 residential buildings and 705 establishments), in which 93 of them were self-demolition located mostly in Jerusalem governorate.
“Israeli occupation authorities during the year 2021, issued 875 orders associated with demolishing, construction and land reclamation halt in the West Bank and Jerusalem, of which 22 per cent [were] in Nablus Governorate, 15 per cent in Tubas and Northern Valley Governorate, and 14 per cent in Jerusalem Governorate, in addition to the destruction of many infrastructure sites that serve the Palestinians, including roads, water and sanitation networks.”
During the first eight months of 2021, Israeli authorities demolished 666 Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 958 people, a 38 percent increase compared to the same period in 2020, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Most buildings were demolished because they lacked building permits, which authorities make nearly impossible for Palestinians in these areas to obtain. In July, Israeli authorities razed, for the sixth time in less than a year, the homes of most residents of the Palestinian community of Khirbet Humsah in the Jordan Valley for being in a designated “firing zone,” displacing 70 people, 35 of them children.
Israeli authorities in late 2021 designated six prominent Palestinian civil society organizations as “terrorist” and “illegal” organizations, moves that permit closing their offices, seizing their assets, and jailing their staff and supporters.
Meanwhile, the massive numbers of injuries, detentions and deaths due to the occupation and violent expansion of settlements continues to grow. The PCBS informs that “The number of Palestinian and Arab martyrs killed since the Nakba in 1948 and until [Land Day 2022] (inside and outside Palestine) reached about 100,000 martyrs. Moreover, the number of martyrs killed in Al-Aqsa Intifada between September 29, 2000 and December 31, 2021 was 11,310. It is said that the bloodiest year was 2014 with 2,240 Palestinian martyrs, 2,181 of them were from Gaza Strip during the war on Gaza. During 2021, the number of Palestinian martyrs reached 341, 87 of whom were children and 48 women, while the number of wounded Palestinians during the year 2020 reached about 12,500 in 2021.” By September 2021, there were 4,650 Palestinian detainees in the Israeli occupation prisons, 200 of them children and 40 women.
On the occasion of Land Day 2022, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) salutes the Palestinian people and their courage, resourcefulness and steadfast resistance to defend their right to be, and calls on Canadians to step up their efforts to stand with Palestine.
Long Live the Just Struggle of the Palestinian People!
TML Daily, posted March 30, 2022.
46th Anniversary of Palestinian Land Day
Even in Israeli Jails, Palestinians Resist Occupation
According to media reports there are more than 4,600 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. At least 500, including women and minors, are being held for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed indefinitely, without charge, trial or conviction, under so-called “administrative detention.” They are held on suspicion of being part of the resistance to Israeli occupation. Some have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.
Even from behind bars of Israeli prisons, Palestinians resist. Since the beginning of January 2022 all administrative detainees have been boycotting the Israeli military court system, en masse, to protest. They refuse to attend hearings for the renewal of administrative detention orders as well as appeal hearings and even sessions at Israel’s Supreme Court.
One such prisoner, Khalil Awawda, age 40, has been on hunger strike for 25 consecutive days as of March 28, in Ofer prison, protesting his administrative detention. He has spent 12 years in Israeli detention, including five years in administrative detention. A father of four, he is suffering severe health problems that require surgery and physical therapy, which he has been denied.
As the resistance to administrative detention mounts, Israel resorts to increasing violence to inflict punishment and attempt to break the prisoner resistance. On March 16 Israeli special forces even stormed cells of Palestinian inmates at the Nafha prison. The spirit of the Palestinian people however cannot be broken.
Israeli officials implemented numerous punitive measures against detainees in revenge for the September 2021 escape of six Palestinians from the northern maximum security prison of Gilboa. The Israelis had to mount a massive manhunt to catch them and its vengeful measures such as visitation bans and reduced yard time led to clashes and strikes. Following weeks of clashes, agreements were reached between the parties but Israel’s lack of implementation of its commitments sparked a new wave of protests, including the refusal to stand up at the morning roll call, to go out into the yard and refusing meals. A mass hunger strike was called for March 25.
On March 24 the Palestinian Authority’s Detainees Affairs Commission announced that the mass hunger strike that had been scheduled to start on March 25 had been called off. The Palestine Chronicle reports that the Chairman of the commission, Qadri Abu-Bakr issued a statement which said that the Palestinian prisoners “were able to force the Israel Prison Services to achieve their demands concerning their daily life and healthcare needs.” He added, “The steadfastness and unity of the [Palestinian] prisoner movement have taught the [Israeli] occupation a real lesson that a new reality and a new equation are in place, and that any abuse of any prison is an assault on the entire prisoner movement with all its factions.”
TML Daily, posted March 30, 2022.
Palestine Centre for Human Rights Latest Update
On March 17 the Palestine Centre for Human Rights issued its most current report on human rights violations of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). The report notes:
“So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 16 Palestinians, including four children, and wounded 133 others, including 23 children, one woman, two paramedics and 10 journalists, all in the West Bank, except one fisherman in the Gaza Strip.”
As well, so far in 2022, “IOF conducted 1539 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 940 Palestinians were arrested, including 117 children and nine women. IOF also conducted 11 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 12 Palestinians, including seven fishermen” and five others.
IOF continues to impose restrictions on freedom of movement in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 89 temporary military checkpoints the week of March 9 to 16 alone. The majority of the checkpoints were in Hebron (29) and Bethlehem (20). Since the beginning of 2022, the IOF has established at least 712 checkpoints and arrested 40 Palestinians at those checkpoints.
(TML Daily, posted March 30, 2022)
Jerusalema Dance Challenge
The Jerusalema Dance Challenge has reverberated around the world since it first came on the scene in 2019. This rendering by the Popular Art Centre (PAC), partnered with South African Palestine solidarity groups is the best and fuses traditional African dance movements (Cameroonian) with Palestinian folkloric dance (Dabkeh). It is a joyous celebration of the indomitable spirit of the Palestinian people.
The song Jerusalema originated as a pop song in 2019 by Master KG, a 24-year-old South Africa-based DJ. It was produced in Zulu, sung by Nomcebo Zikode and quickly became an unofficial African Anthem. Set to dance by an Angolan dance troop, Fenomenos do Semba, it soon went global and morphed into a dance challenge taken up worldwide, primarily as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Groups of workers and students across Canada, from Halifax to Victoria and as far north as Churchill, Manitoba have posted their videos. Likewise in Indonesia, Kenya, Vietnam, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria, Morocco and many more countries dance groups and others have taken up the challenge.
The Popular Art Centre rendering brought together 130 Dancers from five Palestinian governorates: African Community Society (Jerusalem), Watan Dance Troupe (Gaza), Baladi Center for Culture & Arts (Bethlehem), El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe (Ramallah & El-Bireh), Naqsh Popular Art Troupe (Jenin), AfroDabke group / PAC (Ramallah & El-Bireh).
Oh Jerusalem, our Heaven on Fire
We are so near, and yet so far
Their walls and siege keep us apart
Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem, our Heaven on Fire
We long to walk your ancient alleys
We dream of the sight of your domes
The olive trees in your valleys
And the warmth of your homes
Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem, our Heaven on Fire
Your freedom is our desire
We will cross the barbed wire
We will resist, we won’t tire
We will sing for your glory in choir
Our city of Peace, our Heaven on fire.
Montreal Action Celebrates Palestinian Resistance
Currently about 500 of the 4,550 Palestinian political prisoners being detained by the Israeli government are imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention
A rally outside the Israeli Consulate in Montreal on January 5, organized by PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity) and the Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec, brought together a number of pro-Palestinian activists and organizations. They were there to celebrate the news that Palestinian political prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash, who had been on a hunger strike for 141 days to protest his imprisonment without charge, had ended his fast after reaching an agreement with Israel to be released on February 26. However the celebration was bitter-sweet, as currently about 500 of the 4,550 Palestinian political prisoners being detained by the Israeli government are imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention.
A representative of PAJU informed that under its brutal apartheid system, “Israel can arrest any Palestinian at any time and incarcerate them without formal evidence or charges, and without due process. Administrative detention can be renewed indefinitely every six months without recourse to appeal. Therefore, Palestinians can be imprisoned for years without charge and without trial.”
She noted that Hisham Abu Hawash “spent a total of eight years in Israeli occupation prisons, including fifty-two months without charge or trial, under administrative detention.”
Another speaker called on everyone to look at the struggle of the Palestinians from the perspective of the Israeli government’s violation of their basic human rights, encouraging all to rally to their defence.
Yet another decried the Canadian government’s role in supporting the Israeli government and its activities alongside the U.S. He also condemned the U.S. embargo on Cuba and its interference in its internal affairs, along with Canada’s participation in efforts to accomplish regime change, such as in Haiti and Venezuela.
A spokesperson for the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) noted that on December 7 in the House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly was asked by a Bloc Québécois MP why Canada had voted against three resolutions on Palestine in the United Nations where, each time, it found itself in a tiny minority, with the likes of the U.S. and Israel.
Minister Joly’s response was: “We are opposed to any initiative, within the United Nations and other multilateral forums, that is specifically aimed at criticizing only Israel, since we believe in a much more holistic approach. We therefore reject any unilateral resolutions from these forums that would politicize these issues.”
“Such statements by the Trudeau Liberals,” noted the CPC(M-L) spokesperson, “show their hypocrisy and their desperate attempts to equate the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people with the crimes committed by the Israeli Occupation forces and settlers.”
“We express highest regards for the Palestinian Resistance,” he said. “If it were not for the Palestinian Resistance, Israel would get away with their crime of ethnic cleansing and their schemes to expel the Palestinians from their homeland. What suits the Zionists, the U.S. imperialists and the Canadian government is for the world to never know what is really going on.”
“Thanks to the Resistance, the entire world can see that the way forward is to stop the crimes and those who commit them, as the state of Israel has shown that it has no interest in maintaining agreements, resolutions and peace treaties,” he concluded.
During the action, passers-by raised their fists and smiled, while cars honked their horns in support. The action ended with everyone shouting “Long Live the Palestinian Resistance!” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!”
TML Daily, posted March 30, 2022.