Assassinations, house demolitions, land confiscation, restrictive permit regulations and the snaking of the “apartheid” wall through and around villages, cities and farms continue unabated as a shrinking Palestine marks Land Day on 30 March.
Targeted assassinations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have taken tens of lives including innocent bystanders, women and children.
Daily house demolitions have left thousands homeless.
Construction of the apartheid wall has confiscated thousands of hectares of land and created a new category of refugees living between the wall and the “green line”.
Meanwhile, the international community looks on, making ineffectual peace proposals that ignore human rights, refugee rights and international law.
Land Day commemorates events of 28 years ago when Israeli security forces shot and killed six Palestinians inside 1948 Palestine/Israel who were protesting expropriation of Palestinian land to build new Jewish colonies and expand existing Jewish cities. Now Land Day symbolizes resistance to ongoing land expropriation, unresolved claims to housing and property restitution and the 37-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinian land ownership shrinks to 10 per cent
In 1948, Palestinians owned more than 90 per cent of the land in historic Mandate Palestine. Today, the indigenous Palestinian Arab population owns and controls about 10 per cent of its homeland (within Israel and the 1967 occupied territories). At the same time, more than half of the original Palestinian population has been displaced/expelled from Palestine.
A comprehensive, just and durable peace in the Middle East will remain elusive until:
Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is ended; Palestinian housing and property claims are resolved; Israel admits its role in creating the Palestinian refugee problem and acknowledges the right of return for Palestinian refugees; Israel is held accountable for its obligations and responsibilities under international law; and the international community promotes peace plans that include recognition of refugee rights, human rights and international law.
Land Day activities include a call for a general strike of Palestinians in Israel and throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
BADIL Resource Center aims to provide a resource pool of alternative, critical and progressive information on the question of Palestinian refugees in our quest to achieve a just and lasting solution for exiled Palestinians based on their right of return.