Land Day & Bolton Conference on the Balfour Declaration PALESTINE – 2017

Zardoz Greek zardos777 at
Wed Mar 29 03:57:29 BST 2017

In the Irish Free State -

Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or more than 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.

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/

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

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.

The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included, “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”

Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population − both Muslims and Christians − ever since.

Thirty-eight years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens − code for forced displacement.

Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries.

Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages.

The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East” with such discriminatory policies and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel − living victims of Israel’s violent establishment − viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.
Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by

The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive − The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial.

For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package − the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian business consultant from the Palestinian city of El Bireh. He blogs at Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer from the Arab village of Fassuta in the Galilee. Her website is Sam and Fida were both born in the Diaspora and relocated to their family’s hometowns in Palestine and Israel, respectively.

Day Conference on the Balfour Declaration

The Triangle Community Methodist Church
New Church Road - Bolton

8th April 2017
10:00 am - 3:30 pm

The Triangle Community Methodist Church
New Church Road

Day Conference: 100 Years Since the Balfour Declaration – Understanding the history, outcomes, and the British responsibilities in 2017
Day Conference on the Balfour Declaration organised by Friends of Sabeel (North West)
Guest Speakers include:

• Professor Mary Grey- Ecotheologian, feminist writer and member of the Balfour Project
• Dr Aimee Shalan Director of Fobza –Promoting Palestinian access to education

There will also be a Palestinian Craft Stall with Zaytoun Fairtrade products for sale.
The event is £10 per person including a buffet lunch & refreshments.
To book or for more information contact Deborah by e-mail darnes at or use the Balfour Event Booking Form.


Posted on Feb 14, 2017

Dr. Frank Romano, University of Paris, writes:


You are invited to participate in the Freedom March on Thursday, March 30, 2017. It is to commemorate the “Land Day”, 2017. The group will meet at 12:30 pm ——— – At the Qalandia Mosque, in the West Bank, in Palestine, then walk towards the Qalandia checkpoint.

This is the Palestinian land, they will not leave, they will remain attached to this sacred land of Palestine. We will continue our resistance to the occupation! We will continue Palestinian existence until freedom and independence, until the end of the Israeli occupation, until the establishment of a just and lasting peace …

It is the message of a whole existing and resilient Palestinian people, a message addressed to the entire world, and in particular to the Israeli occupation forces every year on March 30th, Land Day and Palestinian resistance. The Palestinian people commemorate this day wherever they exist. It is the day of attachment to its roots and its history, a history deeply marked by resistance and confrontation with the occupier who continues to steal his fields and trees, his resources, his houses and his Earth.

The unconditional support of the current US government of the Israeli government, the strengthening and extending of the Israeli settlements, the continuing cruel persecution of the Palestinians and the current US policy to promote the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and exclude immigrants from certain Muslim countries — is enough for us.

My friends, it’s no longer possible to say, “Ah, it’s the other side of the world, what does this place have to do with me, my family, my world …”.

We will continue to give our blood for the land of Palestine. Here, our land, here, our roots, Here, our history, here our life, our future, And here, our Palestine!

So let’s head to the streets and make our voices heard. So, I invite you to JOIN ME.

Dr. Frank Romano
Professor, University of Paris
Contact: frankfro at

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