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Long live the memory of Land Day, a day of struggle to defend our land, dignity and freedom

(Translated from the Arabic original)

On March 30, 2016, we will mark the 40th anniversary of the eternal Land Day. On this great day in our history, March 30, 1976, the Palestinian Arab masses in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle and the Coastal Plains announced a general strike and confronted the policies of land confiscation, Judaization and ethnic cleansing. On that day the people of Palestine – elderly and children, women and men – showed their willpower, this popular force which always causes the heavily armed oppressive forces of colonialism to tremble. With our resolve we challenged the Zionist regime’s army and police and sacrificed on the altar of freedom six martyrs and hundreds of wounded and detainees.Land_Day_Map_With_Martyrs

We commemorate Land Day as a heroic day that threw revolutionary light on the Palestinian national liberation struggle against Zionist colonialism. It thwarted the colonial regime’s divide and rule schemes by uniting the Palestinian land from the river to the sea and bringing together the Palestinian people in the homeland and exile. On the conceptual level, while Israel aspired to weaken our national identity and lock us in the cage of a “minority” begging for symbolic rights in the framework of the Jewish state, Land Day proved the unity of all the Palestinian people. On a practical level, while Israel aimed to destroy our unity in struggle, Land Day became a day of open rejection and confrontation with the Zionist regime in all of Palestine.

Land Day came, in 1976, based on the advancement of the Palestinian revolution in Lebanon and the escalation of the popular struggle against the occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, alongside the armed struggle. With the general strike and mass uprising in the “internal”, all the Palestinian land was united under the banners of the struggle for freedom for the first time since the 1948 Nakba.

Our masses “inside” continued steadily, since that day, deepening their awareness of the unity of our national cause and regaining their role as active participants in the liberation struggle waged by our people since the start of Zionist settlement. They continued to express their resistance to Zionist aggression against our people, wherever it happened, and cemented Palestinian unity in struggle in every watershed event. They came out in mass in 1982 to protest the aggression against our people in the Diaspora in Lebanon and the massacres of Sabra and Shatila; they striked on “Palestine Day” to support the Palestinian Intifada in 1987; they striked for ten days at the beginning of the Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Intifada of 2000, culminating with the fall of the 13 martyrs of the “October Uprising”; they confronted the Zionist campaigns of massacres: the invasion of the West Bank (2002) and the continued aggression campaigns against the besieged Gaza Strip.

On another advanced front of the struggle, the front of the Palestinian prisoners, our “internal” Palestinian masses constitute a militant torch in support of prisoners’ brave struggle for freedom. We witness the demonstrations supporting the general strikes of the prisoners, as well as support of prisoners on hunger strike, well remembered among them Samer Issawi, Khader Adnan, Mohammed Allan and Mohammed Al-Qiq, and all the heroes of the battle of legendary steadfastness in the dungeons of the Israeli occupation. The unity of the prisoners’ movement shows, on a small scale, a model of the unity of our people, which unite in struggle in spite of all the divisions forced upon us by ethnic cleansing and occupation.

We commemorate today the fortieth anniversary of Land Day as our people are waging the third Intifada in defense of Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa against Zionist aggression and to protect Arab land and homes in all parts of Palestine against settlements, demolition and confiscation, from Al-‘Araqeeb and Ramiya to Um Al-Hiran, Susya and the villages around Al-Khalil, Al-Jiftlik and Al-Quds.

The Palestinian people became a symbol of revolutionary struggle for freedom in the eyes of the people all over the world. We witness the BDS movement growing stronger and wider across the globe, shaking the pretension of the Zionist entity to be a legitimate state in the international arena.

Our traditional leadership moved away from the aspirations of our people and from the line drawn with the blood of the martyrs of our people’s united struggle to defend our existence, in the Diaspora and in the Homeland, symbolized by the heroic Land Day. This leadership is still begging for crumbs from the occupation’s table, trying to negotiate liquidationist solutions. The role of our Youth movements and People’s Committees, which are leading the fight on the ground, lies in restoring the demand for liberation and the faith in the path of the revolution. We must resume the move towards the goal of Palestinian liberation, under a program that will unify the Palestinian people wherever they are.

Eternal glory to the innocent martyrs of our people!

Long live the eternal Land Day!

Long live Palestine, free and democratic!

Herak Haifa

March 2016