Palestinians mark Land Day with protests
Published Apr 8, 2007 7:36 PM
March 30—The main demonstration of the 31st annual protest known as Yaum
Al Ard (Land Day) took place here today in Sakhnin, a northern Palestinian town
of about 20,000 within the 1948 borders of the garrison state of Israel. The
march of at least 5,000 Palestinians, joined by some Jewish supporters, filled
the main street of the town.
Young people demand return of
WW photo: Leslie Feinberg
Thirty-one years ago, on March 30, 1976, Palestinian residents of Sakhnin and
Arrabeh organized a general strike and poured into the streets in protest
against the Israeli confiscation of 5,500 acres of land from Arab villages here
in the Galilee to create “closed military zones.” The Israeli army
and police opened fire on the women, men and children who marched here. Six
Palestinians were killed, at least 96 wounded and more than 300 were whisked
away into detention.
Today, Palestinians of all ages marched through the streets of Sakhnin singing
in Arabic: “My land, I love you, you are my life.”
A colorful sea of flags, held aloft by contingents of demonstrators, gave
visual representation to the united front that today’s demonstration
represented. The large contingent of the Communist Party of Israel—which
is more than 90 percent Palestinian—held many red flags and many of its
members wore T-shirts emblazoned with the image of Cuban revolutionary Che
The Arab nationalist party Balad—the Arabic acronym for National
Democratic Assembly—also had a very large contingent carrying orange
The Islamic Movement was identified by its green flags. The Arab Movement for
Change carried yellow flags. The Arab Democratic Party and the United Arab List
also marched with their own flags.
Marchers chanted, clapped and sang in protest of the decades of theft of their
land until they reached the cemetery where the six 1976 martyrs are buried.
There, after a moment of silence, a political rally was held in Arabic. Sakhnin
Mayor Mohamed Basheer, a central committee member of the Communist Party of
Israel, welcomed demonstrators and thanked Jewish democratic forces for their
In recent weeks Israeli occupation forces—using equipment supplied by the
United States—demolished the homes of 200 Bedouin families in the Negev,
just 300 kilometers from Sakhnin.
Other protests today targeted the construction of the Apartheid Wall, which has
imprisoned whole Palestinian towns and villages. Its serpentine shape also
constitutes a grab of Palestinian lands. People protested at the Wall in Jenin,
Tulkarem and Jerusalem.
Demonstrations also took place in Qalqiliya, Salfit, Ramallah and Hebron.
Students organized protests in Qalqiliya, Tulkarem, Jericho, Bethlehem and
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