(CHICAGO 03/29/2013) – On the eve of the 37th year since Israeli Occupation Forces killed six Palestinians defending their land against Zionist confiscation, a new report admits Palestinians have access to less than 1 percent of “state land” in the West Bank.
Land Day, or ‘Youm al-Ard’ in Arabic, commemorates March 30, 1976, when hundreds of Palestinians staged a demonstration to protest the confiscation and closure of 5,500 acres of land from their villages in the Galilee. Six were murdered, 96 were injured and 300 were arrested. The day honors Khair Mohammad Yasin, Raja Husein Abu Ria, Khader Abd Khalaileh, Khadijeh Shawahneh, Mohammad Yousef Taha, and Rafat Al Zuheiri, who died protecting their land. It has come to symbolize the resilient and defiant spirit of Palestinians who continue to demand justice, liberty and a life free from occupation.
Since 1967, occupation authorities had taken private Palestinian land, declaring it closed for ‘military use’ and then opening up the area for Jewish-only settlements. In 1979, Zionist authorities began confiscating liberally Palestinian property and making it “state land.” The West Bank has about 325,000 acres of this so-called state land, and more than 99 percent of it has been given to Jewish settlers, according to Haaretz.
This practice is just one of the many occupation policies that violate international law and deprive Palestinians of their basic human rights. The siege on Gaza, the refusal of right of return to millions of Palestinian refugees and prohibiting most Palestinians from entering Jerusalem, where this spring Jewish settlers – under the protection of the Israeli military – chased Palestinians from Al Aqsa mosque to conduct their Passover rituals inside Islam’s third holiest site.
The tactic is part of the escalation of the Judaization of Jerusalem, which includes removing Palestinians from the city, destroying Muslim and Christian religious sites and denying Palestinians access to the Al Aqsa mosque compound.
The United States enables Israeli authorities to act with impunity, mainly because of our more than $3 billion per year in US foreign military aid. We can ameliorate our culpability in America’s complicity in the occupation by continuing to raise our voices about the occupation, Israeli apartheid and US foreign aid.
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(Source / 29.03.2013)