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PHOTOS: Thousands of Palestinians march to commemorate Land Day

Thousands march across Israel and the occupied territories to commemorate 41 years since security forces shot dead six Palestinians for protesting land expropriations.

Young Palestinians chant slogans during the annual Land Day march from Sakhnin to Deir Hanna, in northern Israel, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

Young Palestinians chant slogans during the annual Land Day march from Sakhnin to Deir Hanna, in northern Israel, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinians took part in marches across Israel on Wednesday and Thursday to mark “Land Day,” commemorating the six Palestinian citizens killed by Israeli forces in 1976. The events began on Wednesday in a torch-lit march in the northern village of Deir Hanna, and continued Thursday, when hundreds marched in Sakhnin, Araba and Deir Hanna, as well as in the occupied territories.

Hundreds take march in the annual Land Day march from Sakhnin to Deir Hanna, northern Israel, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

Hundreds march in the annual Land Day march from Sakhnin to Deir Hanna, northern Israel, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

Thursday began with vigils for the six Palestinians who were shot dead in 1976 while protesting land expropriation, while members of Knesset from the Joint List laid flowers at the memorial for the dead in Sakhnin.

Palestinian leaders, including MK Haneen Zoabi (second from left) and Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah (second from right) are seen during the annual Land Day rally in Deir Hanna, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

Palestinian leaders, including MK Haneen Zoabi (second from left, front row) and Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah (second from right, front row) are seen during the annual Land Day rally in Deir Hanna, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

On March 30, 1976, Palestinian citizens of Israel declared a general strike and set out to protest against a decision by Yitzhak Rabin’s government to expropriate nearly 5,000 acres of private Palestinian land in the Galilee. IDF and police forces suppressed the demonstrations, which took place in Sakhnin, Deir Hanna and Araba, shooting and killing six protesters, and wounding over 100 others. Since then, Land Day has become one of the symbols of the Palestinian struggle, both in Israel and abroad, against dispossession, land expropriation and discrimination.

In the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev Desert, residents and activists built a memorial for Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an, who was shot dead by Israeli police in January. MK Dov Khenin (Joint List), who joined the event, explained why he chose to come to the village: “This place is the clearest symbol for the story of Land Day: in 1976 Arab citizens came out to struggle for their land, for justice and equality in this land, and six of them were shot dead by the police and the army.”

Hundreds take march in the annual Land Day march from Sakhnin to Deir Hanna, northern Israel, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

Hundreds march in the annual Land Day march from Sakhnin to Deir Hanna, northern Israel, March 30, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

“This past year saw another victim. This is the memorial for Yacoub Abu Al-Qi’an, who was shot dead here on the land of Umm al-Hiran — a small village that the government has decided to demolish,” Khenin said.

At around noon, hundreds marched from the northern city of Saknin to Deir Hanna, where the main rally was held to mark 41 years since the first Land Day. Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh told the crowd: “Land Day is the most important day in the history of the Arab public’s struggle for equality in Israel.”

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh (second from right) and MK Basel Ghattas (left) seen at the Land Day memorial in Sakhnin, March 30, 2017. (Joint List)

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh (second from right, front row) and MK Basel Ghattas (second from left) seen at the Land Day memorial in Sakhnin, March 30, 2017. (Joint List)

“This year,” he continued, “in the shadow of government’s wild incitement against us, in the shadow of the home demolitions and the legislation whose only goal is to harm and incite against the Arab public — this day and this struggle are more important than ever. We stand united against the bulldozers and against the incitement of the prime minister and his ministers.”

Hundreds of Palestinian youth take part in a torch-lit march in the northern village of Deir Hanna to mark Land Day, March 29, 2017. (Maria Zreik/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinian youth take part in a torch-lit march in the northern village of Deir Hanna to mark Land Day, March 29, 2017. (Maria Zreik/Activestills.org)

A version of this article also appears in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. R5

      Palestinians, huh? Leftists are happy to Palestinianize all Israeli Arabs to fit their narrative, consequences be damned. These are the same Bernie Bros who brought you Donald Trump. Virtue signaling to the grave. Just not their grave.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Firentis

      They wave the flag of our enemies so I see no reason to see them as anything more or to treat their march and demands as anything more than another front in their war against us.

      Reply to Comment
    3. i_like_ike52

      Israeli Arabs waving Palestinian flags is not the way to get Israeli Jews to support the Israeli Arab agenda. Those who are doing waving these flags are trying to have it both ways….to pressure “their government” but, at the same time, to deny its very legitimacy.
      This is just another manifestation of the self-destructive nature of radical Arab/Palestinian political discourse.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Randall

      Yes, these Israeli Arabs have been clearly radicalized by Abbas’s (holocaust-denial) PLO terrorist organization. Thus, they rule themselves out of being included in the civil consensus.

      Reply to Comment