On Land Day, MPPM calls for an end to violence against the Palestinian people
On 30 March 1976, Palestinians in the Nazareth region - in the north of the territory of Palestine occupied by the State of Israel - organised a one-day general strike. The protests were motivated by the Israeli government's intentions to expropriate Palestinian land in order to install Jewish settlements on it. The peaceful protests ended in a bloodbath: Israeli army forces and border police killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Since then, Land Day, 30 March, has become a day of resistance and commemoration of land for all Palestinians.
The issue of land and its ownership has always been a central issue, both for Zionists and for Palestinians.
From the beginning, the Zionists sought to appropriate as much land as possible by expelling the Palestinians who lived on it. This is the meaning of Israel's founding crime, the ethnic cleansing of more than 700,000 Palestinians that accompanied the creation of the Zionist state in 1948: the Nakba (catastrophe), which is 75 years old this year.
For Palestinians, their ancestral owners, land has always represented not only a means of subsistence but also a central element of their identity.
For nearly twenty years, Palestinians in the State of Israel were subjected to a regime of military rule which, while restricting their movement in the territory, promoted the expropriation of their land by considering "absent" their legitimate owners who had been forcibly removed from their territories.
On the other hand, in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, colonisation is advancing at a great pace, and is now being increased by the Netanyahu government. Today, around 700,000 Israeli settlers live there. The new government is promising to build 10,000 more housing units in the settlements and a law was recently passed allowing the return to settlements that had previously been evacuated.
The process of ethnic cleansing and colonisation is particularly violent in Jerusalem, targeting neighbourhoods such as Sheik Jarrah and Silwan in an attempt to achieve the goal of Judaization of the city by isolating it from the West Bank territory.
The Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 is shredded by settlements and exclusive roads for Jews, by the Apartheid Wall, by a capillary network of checkpoints.
Supported by the most right-wing government Israel has ever known, with openly fascist elements, settler violence is rife, as the heinous pogrom in Hawara last February amply demonstrates.
The recent declarations by the fascist Israeli minister Bezalel Smotrich that "the Palestinians do not exist" are a new threat of ethnic cleansing, but are at the same time a manifestation of the consistency and continuity of Zionist policy over time: the same was said by the Labour prime minister Golda Meir as far back as 1969.
In the almost five decades that have passed since 30 March 1976, the Palestinian people have never ceased to be victims of occupation, violence, and dispossession.
This year also marks, it should be remembered, the fifth anniversary of the demonstrations of the Great March of Return in Gaza - which started on Land Day, 30 March, on purpose - which have been the target of unprecedented violence, with hundreds of deaths and thousands of injured.
And in these first three months of 2023 alone, the Israeli repressive forces have already killed around 90 Palestinians, in a slaughter that must be brought to an end quickly and that enjoys the scandalous impunity by the international community.
Palestinians, living in the occupied territories or in Israel, continue to be subjected to discriminatory treatment that several Israeli and international organisations do not hesitate to describe as apartheid.
On the Land Day, the MPPM:
- strongly condemns, and demands an immediate end to Israeli repression against the Palestinian people;
- demands that the Portuguese government, in the exercise of its constitutional obligations, denounce the violence of the Israeli government against the Palestinians and act towards the fulfilment of the relevant UN resolutions to enforce the rights of the Palestinians, namely by ending the occupation
- reaffirms its unfailing solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle for their national cause, for an independent and sovereign state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and for the return of refugees.
March 30, 2023
The National Directorate of MPPM