Palestinian Land Day serves both to commemorate the historical events of March 30, 1976 and to draw attention to the struggles that Palestinians still face because of Israeli aggression.
After the calamitous wars of 1948 and 1967 robbed Palestinians of both their sovereignty and much of their territory, in the spring of 1976 Israel declared its intention to “Judaise” the Galilee, a fertile northern region dotted with ancient Palestinian villages. In practice, this was a declaration of war against the indigenous people of the Levant that would result in forced removal of Palestinians from their homes and their land and threaten to push the Palestinian people into a state of permanent diaspora.
Facing this existential threat to the physical safety and cohesion of their people, Palestinian leaders decided to mobilize. Demonstrations in towns and villages from Galilee to the Negev were met with violent repression by the Israeli military and police, leaving hundreds of Palestinians arrested, dozens wounded, and six unarmed Palestinians dead.
March 30 some 41 years ago marked the first time that Palestinians organized on a national scale to resist the Israeli occupation. Land Day continues to be commemorated not only by Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories but by those in the diaspora and supporters worldwide.
We share below a statement from our long-time partner, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, issued for this year’s Land Day.
About the author: Eric Niermeyer contributed to this article. He is a Political Communications major at Emerson College.