Monday, April 2, 2007
By Jamal Juma
"Palestinians in our homeland and the Diaspora remember the 30th of May as Land Day. On this day in 1976, six Palestinians were killed and a hundred injured by Israeli forces as Palestinians went on strike against a massive land confiscation scheme in the Galilee. Land theft and colonization continues in the Galilee, Naqab and the West Bank until today.
More than 30 years later, we will again be out on the streets and in the fields confronting the Occupation. Over 20 protests and demonstrations will unite the people in villages and cities across the West Bank in a week of continuous mobilization, while Palestinians on the other side of the Green Line will hold protests against the ongoing racism and colonization of their lands. But is the world willing to see our protests and the reality on the ground?
In the West Bank, including Jerusalem , the Israeli Apartheid Wall, settlements and their road systems are de facto confiscating over half of our land and most of our water resources and agricultural fields. Israeli apartheid is creating something worse than Bantustans: Palestinian residential areas surrounded by 8-meter high cement walls and sealed by gates, checkpoints and terminals.......
In the meanwhile, the newly formed Palestinian government has to be integrated into these plans to ensure it underwrites the formula. The ongoing sanctions against the Palestinian people represent the backdrop of international pressure and such efforts.
In this situation, it is neither Palestinians nor those in the Arab world that strive for justice and self-determination that need a deal. The ongoing resistance in Palestine and Iraq is the unpredictable factor that might change the cards on the table. It is time to underline the principles of our struggle and the baselines for peace and justice: the end of the occupation, equality for all of our people within our homeland, the right of return to their homes for our refugees, Jerusalem, home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and cultural and economic center of Palestine as our capital, are integral parts of our right to self-determination. It is only when diplomacy is forced to see and change the reality on the ground in Palestine and accepts the pillars of our struggle, human rights and international law that justice comes closer.
The demonstrations and protests all over Palestine for Land Day are thus yet another call to our leadership and the wider region that they at least second, if not lead, the steadfastness and resistance of the people. Approximately 97 villages in the West Bank are completely isolated and slated for destruction or ethnic cleansing and some 4,500 houses are under demolition order to make space for Israeli colonization. Dispossessed farmers watch industrial estates growing on their land in a system designed to exploit and control. Six out of ten Palestinians live below the poverty line. Yet the calls that lead the demonstrations do not ask for food or survival. It is the calls for dignity and rights – the full implementation of our rights – that brings the people onto the streets. Another popular Intifada is inevitably building up as long as our rights are ignored and our future confiscated. "