30 March marks Palestinian Land Day; a day commemorated by Palestinians in illegally occupied territories, the Palestinian diaspora, and solidarity organisations across the world. In response to the Israeli governments’ 1976 plans to further annexe Palestinian land for state purposes, thousands of Palestinians across several villages participated in a widespread strike. Protestors, most of whom were peaceful and unarmed, clashed with the Israeli Army and Police, resulting in the killing of six Palestinians, and the injury and arrest of hundreds of people.
The protestors met were set to march to the town of Galilee and rallied together in nearby villages. They were met by thousands of heavily armed Israeli soldiers and police officers who did not hesitate to use force, or their tanks and armoured vehicles. The strike went on for several days during which Palestinian protestors employed simple tactics such as burning tyres, blocking roads, and throwing rocks; and endured the brutal and violent tactics employed by the Israeli Army and Police.
The 1976 march was the first mass organisation of Palestinians since the Nakba (catastrophe) in 1948. In 1948, millions of Palestinian people were displaced when the state of Palestine was carved up and turned into the state of Israel. Palestinians were rendered homeless overnight and were forced to relocate to surrounding villages, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Many fled to neighbouring countries and began to live as refugees in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
44 years later, the uprising of 30 March 1976 is remembered as one of the most prolific days in Palestinian history. Historically, it has been marked by protests of commemoration in the West Bank and Gaza ghettoes and marches around the world, yet this year demonstrations will be halted given the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the implications that mass gatherings have had regarding the dispersion of Covid-19.
Featured image via Google.