30 March 1976
Prepared by: Adib S. Kawar
Land Day 30 March 1976 dedicating the memory of Palestinian resistance day martyrs who fell in the Palestinian Arab people’s uprising in protest against Zionist occupation’s plans aiming at confiscate thousands of dunums(1), which the Zionist occupation authorities declared is for security purposes and settlement (colonization). Large demonstrations were organized in Palestinian Arab cities and towns in between the Galilee and the Negev. Six martyrs, five men and one young woman, fell in confronting Zionist occupation army and police men, one hundred wounded and hundreds arrested.
Scholarships on the Palestinian Arab-Zionist struggle recognizes the Land Day as a pivotal occasion in the struggle over the land in the relationship of Palestinian citizens (“Israeli Arab citizens”) in the Zionist entity and body politics. Its significance is that it was the first time since the Nakbah in 1948 that Palestinian Arabs in occupied Palestine 1948 organized a response to Zionist policies Palestinian national and patriotic collective. Since then Land Day had become an important commemoration in the Palestinian Arab and non-Palestinian Arab agenda. It also exceeded the local Palestinian memory to the whole Palestinian shatat (Palestinian refugees around the world), the whole Arab nation and a vast number of people the international community.
Most of the Palestinian Arab community was agrarian, 75% of the Palestinian Arab community in occupied Palestine who used to rely for their livelihood on land before the establishment of the Zionist entity on the stolen land of Palestine. Land still plays an important role in the lives of about 170,000 Palestinian Arabs who remained in their homes and land, noting that a considerable percentage of them were forcibly uprooted from original their homes and land and settled in other parts of 1948 occupied Palestine, and they are considered by the Zionist occupation authorities as (Israeli Arab citizens). Those who remained in Palestine reserved their national Arab and patriotic Palestinian identity, patriotic honor and purpose.
Zionist occupation authorities adopted in 1950 what it called Law of Return to facilitate Jewish immigration to occupied Palestine, or what it called the “Jewish State of Israel”, the occupation authorities adopted what it called “Law of absentee property” by the force of which it transferred the rights of Palestinian Arab land owners to what is called Absentees' Property Law of March 1950 by the force of which it transferred the property rights of absentee owners to a government-appointed Custodian of Absentee Property, effectively “legalizing” or actually the stealing Arab property belonging to uprooted Palestinians. As for non-Palestinian Arab land and property owners their property rights where transferred to what it called “custodian of enemy property” (The Arab enemy). The Absentees' Property Law that also utilized to confiscate property of Palestinian Arabs who were uprooted from their homes and land and settled elsewhere in occupied Palestine 1948 and though called by the occupation authorities “Israeli Arab citizens”, they are still considered by it as “absentees” the same as their refugee brethrens all around the world in their "shatat" (diaspora). The latter count about 200,000 out of the 1,200,000 Palestinian Arabs “Israeli Arab citizens” in 2001, that is about 20% of the total population of the Zionist entity. Suleiman Abu Sitta estimates that between 1948 and 2003 occupation authorities confiscated more than 1000 sq. Kms. ((386.1 sq mi) of land that was stolen from Arab citizens of Israel (present-absentees and otherwise).
As per Oren Yiftachel, protest of Palestinian Arab citizens in occupied Palestine before the mid seventies of the 20th century were rare owing to a combination of factors including military rule (1948-1966) over their localities, poverty, isolation, fragmentation, and their periphal position in the new Zionist state. These protests that did take place against land expropriations and the restrictions Arab citizens were subjected to under military rule are described by Shany Payes as "sporadic" and "limited", due to restrictions on rights to freedom of movement, expression and assembly characteristic of that period. While the political movement Al-Ard ("The Land") was active for about a decade, it was declared illegal in 1964, and the most notable antigovernment occasions otherwise were the May Day protests staged annually by the Communist party.[
The Zionist state announced its intention to confiscate land in the Galilee for official purposes, the thing that took over about 20,0000 dunums of land between Sakhnin and Arraba, out of which there were 6300 dunums are Arab property (this is if the rest of the 20,000 dunums that the enemy doesn’t consider as not Arab property as being public property!!!). The occupation authorities published the confiscation order on 11th March 1967.
Yiftachel wrote that the land confiscation (colonization) to add them them to existing Jewish settlement (colonies) or for building new ones formed part of the government's continuing strategy aimed at the Judaization of the Galilee which itself constituted both a response to and catalyst for Palestinian resistance, culminating in the events of Land Day. As per Nayef Hawatmeh, secretary general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), ),” the land was to be used to construct [...] eight Jewish industrial villages, in implementation of the so-called Galilee Development Plan of 1975”. In hailing this plan, the Ministry of Agriculture openly declared that “its primary purpose was to alter the demographic nature of Galilee in order to create a Jewish majority in the area.” On the other hand, and contrary to the ministry’s declaration Ori Nir writes in Ha'aretz that only 31 percent of the land in question, or less than one-third, was actually Arab-owned and that some of the expropriated land was to be used to expand the Arab village of Makar near Aka/Acre and to build public buildings in Arab towns. Orly Halpern of the The Jerusalem Post writes that the lands were confiscated by the government for security purposes, and that they were subsequently used to build a military training camp, as well as new Jewish settlements.
All of that in addition to more confiscation of Arab land (Land theft) to build more Zionist colonies, which they aim shall end with stealing all Palestinian land and full constriction on Arabs by confiscating all their sources of income and the land to live on and itelize to impose on the full transfer out of their land, which Zionists call voluntary transfer thus empty Palestine out of its Palestinians for full Zionist colonization.
(1) Dunum a measure of land, 1000sq. m