Palestinians have held rallies to commemorate the 47th anniversary of Land Day, in honor of the struggle against Israeli settler-apartheid oppression and the call for freedom, justice and equality.
People in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East al-Quds took to the streets on Thursday to mark the event that takes place on March 30 every year.
In the Gaza Strip, protesters gathered near the fence that separates the besieged enclave from the occupied territories as Israeli troops fired live bullets and tear gas canisters. According to local sources, five Palestinians were injured, three of them with live bullets, two with gas bombs, and hundreds suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Land Day marks when on March 30 1967, Palestinians in the Galilee region rose up against Israel's land theft and were confronted by a deadly crackdown by troops who killed six Palestinians and injured hundreds.
On that day, Palestinians – referred to as "Israeli Arabs" by Israel – declared themselves an inseparable part of the Palestinian people and their struggle.
Struggle of land has not stopped
"The main issue and our struggle with the Zionist movement was, is, and will remain to be the issue of land, and we are still suffering from racist policies in everything related to land and housing,” one of the organizers of the protests was quoted by Palestinian media outlet Arab48 as saying.
"The struggle over the land has not stopped. Indeed, the conflict of the Palestinians with Israel and the Zionist movement throughout history has centered on the land at its core,” historian Johnny Mansour commented on the importance of Land Day's legacy, told The Arab News.
National unity a necessity
In a conference held during the Gaza festival, leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, Khalid al-Batch, said in a speech on behalf of the participating factions, “National unity is a necessity in light of the changes taking place in the Palestinian territories and the world."
Al-Batch warned of Israeli attempts to "erase Palestinian cities in the West Bank.”
“The eternal Land Day this year comes at the height of the fierce Zionist attacks against our people through persecution, demolition, displacement and siege. I warn the enemy of the wrath of our revolution and our resistance,” he said.
The Islamic Jihad chief pointed out that the Israeli approval of "the formation of a special guard will mainly target the Palestinians, and will lead to more innocent bloodshed.”
On Monday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the approval of the formation of a special guard under the supervision of far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Meanwhile, Palestinian factions abroad said in a joint statement that Land Day “constitutes a historical shock to the Zionist entity."
"Our Palestinian people proved that, after nearly three decades of occupation and unjust military rule, it is still steadfast and clings to its land, history, and national identity no matter how long it takes, and it is still one people united around its inalienable historical national rights in the land of Palestine,” the statement said.
They said Land Day this year coincides with the Palestinian people facing the most dangerous stage in the history of their cause, “in light of an Israeli regime that is the most right-wing, racist, extremist and criminal in the history of the occupation.”
This current regime, according to the factions, took a series of racist decisions to escalate aggression against the Palestinian people in al-Quds and the West Bank.
“The Israeli regime has been practicing the most heinous types of killing and assassination, Judaizing Palestinian lands and settlements, and settlers’ continuous violations of the sanctuaries through storming al-Aqsa Mosque and attacking worshipers in places of worship,” the statement read.
Israel seized 2.3 million dunums of land
Meanwhile, the Land Research Center (LRC) of the Arab Studies Society said that the Israeli regime had seized 2.3 million dunums of Palestinian land in the occoupied West Bank.
In a statement it issued on Thursday, the research center pointed out that Israel used those seized dunums for the building of 572 settlements and outposts, where about 850,000 settlers live now, in violation of international resolutions against settlement construction.
During the Israeli annexation, Israel demolished 12,350 Palestinian homes and uprooted over 2,000,000 perennial olive trees, the source said.
On May 15, 1948, Israel was established at the expense of the forced expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians. Since then, the Israeli regime has continued its systematic killing of Palestinian citizens, confiscating land and expanding settlement projects.