Whose Land Is It, Anyway? Part 4

Today, March 30, is Palestinian Land Day, a day set aside to mark a horrific moment on this date in 1976 in relations between Israeli citizens (both Jewish and Arab) and Palestinians.

I had not intended to write today in this series (see previous entries on March 3, February 8,  and February 4), but when I learned of the significance of this date, I felt it right to acknowledge history. I make no claim to expertise on this event or its celebration, but given the fact that few news outlets in the United States report much news about nonviolent events among Palestinians, and because I did see some shocking disparities in land and water allocation (with Palestinians at considerable disadvantage) during my visit in 2014, I decided to share this information.

Here is an excerpt from a post of two years ago in the +972 blog…..

On that dreadful day 38 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

You can read the rest of the blog here. And here is a link to Wikipedia on the subject of Land Day, and here is a link to the report in today’s Haaretz daily newspaper in Israel about the strike being carried out by Israeli Arabs.

As I continue to learn more about the land, its history, and the current situation, I will offer other information.

What remains clear is that contest between these two portions of humanity is far from over. And my prayer remains, on this day and every day, that there be no more martyrs of any type for any reason. There is already enough blood to go around.

2 thoughts on “Whose Land Is It, Anyway? Part 4

  1. If you want a response on why Israel is not occupying Gaza at all (for 9 years) and is not illegally occupying what some call the West Bank and other Judea and Samaria, I recently wrote one and sent it to the Richmond Times Dispatch in response to a letter they published. I don’t know if they will print my letter, but I will be glad to share it with your readers. Water is extremely important in the region. There is an Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (9/28/95) dealing with this issue which was sign in Washington, DC and witnessed by the US, Russia, the EU, Norway,Jordan and Egypt. Israel announced the doubling of water delivery to Gaza in the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (3/4/15). Israel provides the Palestinians 10 million cubic meters of water annually, less than 10% of the water consumed in the Palestinian Territories. Also see the Memorandum of Understanding (12/9/13) signed by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, which, among other things, agrees to build a water desalination plant with the water to be shared by all 3 signatories.

  2. Stan, you are welcome to share whatever you wish in this space. I want you to understand that I am not trying to condemn Israel in this series or to say the Palestinians are all right. Instead, I am trying to navigate through issues about land in general, what it means to have land and not to have it, and history, and the like. I see some parallels with our own nation in the I/P situation and that is another reason I am looking at it. That said, I do think you are somewhat disingenuous by saying Israel does not occupy Gaza. I have not yet written about Gaza, although I am doing some reading from time to time about it. While technically not an occupying force, very tight border control means that the Gazans feel occupied–it is so very difficult to get in or out. It would be akin to Mexico and Canada blocking all our ocean ports and not allowing regular, free movement north or south. Of course, we have one advantage in the range of our natural resources which probably could sustain us quite a while. I worry about the Gazans having too little of just about everything. You are absolutely right about the central importance of water. And the documents you cite are important, but from the little I have read so far, it does not seem to me that they are the whole story. At any rate, as interested in all this as I am, I have many other interests too and will be sharing some that soon, probably even later today or tomorrow.. So my writing about this tortured situation in Israel and Palestine will be, as it has been heretofore, sporadic. I do care passionately about both, all the, peoples involved, and I admire you for your passion, too.

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