Palestinians rally online for Land Day

Palestinians hold banners during an event marking Land Day, near the boundary with Israel east of Gaza City, as mass rallies planned to commemorate the event were cancelled amid concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus, 30 March.

Ashraf Amra APA images

On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians marched in towns and villages across the Galilee region, in the north of what is now Israel, to protest the expropriation of vast tracts of land.

The land theft was part of Israel’s declared policy to “Judaize” the area at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population.

Israel reacted the way it always does to any form of organized protest by Palestinians: brute force and repression.

Israeli forces killed six Palestinians that day.

Every year since then, Palestinians all over the world have commemorated 30 March as Land Day, an ongoing expression of their attachment to their land and determination to regain their rights.

I wrote this brief history of Land Day in 2014.

Two years ago on Land Day, Palestinians in Gaza launched the Great March of Return, weekly mass rallies and community activities to draw world attention to Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and to assert the right of refugees to return home.

Again, Israel used massive military force against unarmed civilians: Snipers killed more than 200 people and injured and maimed thousands more in the context of those protests.

This year, Palestinians are determined not to be silenced, despite the coronavirus pandemic that is keeping people around the world from congregating.

Activists inside and outside Palestine are calling for an online rally, urging people to post photos of themselves on social media expressing support for Palestinian rights.

Some are holding up signs with the names of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

Here are just a few of the postings. You can see many more on the Twitter hashtag #PalestineLandDay.