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Commemorating Land Day

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Commemorating Land Day

by Stephen Lendman

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For Palestinians, Land Day matters.

On March 30, Palestinians worldwide observe Land Day. They've done so since 1976.

Nationwide protests and general strike action erupted. At issue was Israel's land confiscation policy and brutal occupation harshness. 

In early 1975, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced plans to Judaize the Galilee. "Developing the Galilee," he called it. 

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He wanted to transform it into a majority Jewish region, construct eight industrial estates, and develop its economy exclusively for Jews. Doing so required dispossessing Arab citizens.

In 1976, General Yisrael Koenig headed Israel's northern region. In March, he prepared a secret report. It recommended encouraging Jewish immigrants. He wanted them populating the Galilee and Negev regions. He wanted Israeli Arabs removed to accommodate them.

Confiscating 60,000 dunums of Arab-owned Galilee land was planned. Rabin claimed doing so was for "security and settlement purposes."

Demonstrations were declared illegal. Israeli Arabs ignored threats. They rallied. Thousands of security forces confronted them. They did so violently. Six Palestinians died. Dozens more were injured. Hundreds were arrested. 

Police states operate that way. Israel's one of the worst.

Land Day 1976 was special. Israeli Arabs resisted. They did so en masse for the first time. They protested internal colonization. They showed political awareness. They defied Israeli ruthlessness. They did so courageously. They showed they'd no longer be ignored.

In 1948, Israel stole 78% of Palestine. In 1967, they took the rest. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict remains the longest unresolved one of our time.

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Israeli Arabs comprise 20% of Israel's population. They're treated like fifth column threats. From 1948 - 1966, they lived under military rule. It applied only to them. They're Israeli citizens. It didn't matter.

Their fundamental freedoms were restricted. Many were denied. Israel prevented attempts to organize internal pan-Arab cohesion. Divide and rule reflects policy.

So is land confiscation. By 1993, over 80% of Arab-owned land was stolen. Today it approaches 90%. Palestinians were displaced. Jews replaced them. 

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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