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‘We are one people. They are us and we are them’: Palestinians in the West Bank mark Land Day and the Great March of Return

Israel/Palestine
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Around a hundred Palestinians defied bad weather on March 30th and gathered near the illegal settlement and army base of Beit El in Ramallah to mark Land Day.

Land Day is a yearly event during which Palestinians commemorate the Israeli government’s confiscation of thousands of dunums of land from Palestinian citizens of Israel in 1976, and the killing of six Palestinians in the protests that followed.

This year, protesters also came out in support of Gaza and to mark the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return. The series of marches and protests started one year ago to protest the blockade and demand the Palestinian right of return, to which Israeli soldiers have responded with lethal force.

A female Palestinian protester makes a victory sign.

A female Palestinian protester makes a victory sign. Almost half of those attending the demonstration were women.
(Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

Palestinian protesters use a waste container to take cover from the Israeli army

Palestinian protesters use a waste container to take cover from the Israeli army. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

The United Nations recently released statistics stating that the Israeli army has killed 195 Palestinians since March 30 2018, 41 of which were children. A little short of 29,000 Palestinians were wounded, 25% of them with live fire. One Israeli soldier was killed and 50 Israelis were reported injured by Palestinian actions in the same period.

Protesters in Ramallah told Mondoweiss they were there to defend their homeland. They also expressed their support for the marches in Gaza. “We are one people. They are us and we are them,” one masked youth said who preferred not to give his name.

A collection of stones is seen on a concrete block during protests

A collection of stones is seen on a concrete block during protests. Protesters are often seen handing each other stones. Some collect them, some throw them. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

Some protestors take cover while others hurl stones during the clashes near Beit El.

Some protestors take cover while others hurl stones during the clashes near Beit El. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

A protester starts running as he hears the sound of live bullets.

A protester starts running as he hears the sound of live bullets. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

The Israeli army used tear gas, sound grenades, and live bullets against protesters. They also deployed skunk water, a foul smelling liquid sprayed from a water canon, to disperse protesters. The smell lingered in the area for hours after the clashes ended.

An Israeli army jeep sprays skunk water towards protesters

An Israeli army jeep sprays skunk water towards protesters. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

A female Palestinian protester takes coverage behind a waste container.

A female Palestinian protester takes coverage behind a waste container. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

A Palestinian medic uses her hand to cover her nose as the stench of skunk pervades the air

A Palestinian medic uses her hand to cover her nose as the stench of skunk pervades the air. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

Other protests took place in different locations in the West Bank; Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus, Nabi Saleh, Hebron, and the Jabal Mukabir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. One person in Nablus was injured in the face by a tear gas canister.

The Gaza health ministry reported that three were killed in Gaza, including a 17-year-old, and 316 Palestinians were wounded.

An Israeli army commander shouts at journalists to move away from the protest.

An Israeli army commander shouts at journalists to move away from the protest. (Photo: Annelies Keuleers)

About Annelies Keuleers

Annelies Keuleers is a Belgian journalist based in the West Bank. She can be followed on instagram via annelies.keuleers

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22 Responses

  1. JohnSmith
    JohnSmith
    March 30, 2019, 6:41 pm

    Speaking of stolen-land and whose-land and magically-“Israeli” land, I looked at the nytimes.com op-ed page just now and there’s the latest groan-inducing story by loathsome Bari Weiss. The headline is “Can an Archaeological Dig Change the Future of Jerusalem?” and obviously the implication is that the dig will “prove” that “it’s all our, our, ours!”

    But what gets to me is the subheading “The City of David is being unearthed on land that much of the world does not believe belongs to Israel.” Completely apart from the sneering tone about “much of the world” and what that “much of the world” “does not believe”–that benighted much of the world “believes,” while Bari Weiss and the New York Times *know* — there is that cockamamie reference to the “City Of David.” (The “o” in “of” should be capitalized, to my mind.)

    Right, some archeological dig is going to “prove” and “show” things about some utterly mythical figure from ancient books of legend, myth, and magic.

    If people want to claim that archeology will prove an ancient Jewish presence that they believe will somehow back up their claims as Europeans who have some belief in their magical ownership of an area in the Middle East, and their magical racial superiority to the actual Jews of the Bible, and the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian descendants of those Jews of the Bible, fine. Be the racists that you are.

    But when you start spouting drivel about some made-up king, that is some crackpot garbage you’ve got going for you, Ms. Bari Weiss.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      March 30, 2019, 7:33 pm

      “Completely apart from the sneering tone about “much of the world” and what that “much of the world” “does not believe”…”

      But it has to be adressed. It’s not what they “believe”. It’s what they have decided.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      April 1, 2019, 10:06 am

      @JohnSmith, et al

      For the record:

      The Jebusite/Canaanites were ancestors of today’s Palestinians and it was they who founded Jerusalem around 3000 BCE. Originally known as Jebus, the first recorded reference to it as “Rushalimum” or “Urussalim,” site of the sacred Foundation Rock, appears in Egyptian Execration Texts of the nineteenth century BCE, nearly 800 years before it is alleged King David was born. Its name “seems to have incorporated the name of the Syrian god Shalem [the Canaanite God of Dusk], who was identified with the setting sun or the evening star…and] can probably be translated as ‘Shalem has founded’.” (Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem, One City, Three Faiths; Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1996, pp. 6-7)

      Renowned historian/anthropologist and “Holy Land” specialist, Professor Ilene Beatty: “When we speak of ‘Palestinians’ or of the ‘Arab population [of Palestine]”, we must bear in mind their Canaanite origin. This is important because their legal right to the country stems… from the fact that the Canaanites were first, which gives them priority; their descendants have continued to live there, which gives them continuity; and (except for the 800,000 dispossessed refugees [of 1948 along with the further hundreds of thousands expelled before and after the war Israel launched on 5 June 1967]) they are still living there, which gives them present possession. Thus we see that on purely statistical grounds they have a proven legal right to their own land.” (“Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan,” 1957)

      Thus far, no credible archaeological evidence, or more importantly, writings of contemporaneous civilizations, have been found that prove Solomon or David actually existed. Nor has any real evidence been discovered to confirm that the Jewish exodus from Egypt ever occurred.

      Renowned Jewish Israeli writer/columnist, Uri Avnery: “[David and Solomon’s] existence is disproved, inter alia, by their total absence from the voluminous correspondence of Egyptian rulers and spies in the Land of Canaan.” (“A Curious National Home,” by Uri Avnery, May 13/17
      (http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1494589093/)

      It is estimated that the Hebrews did not invade until circa 1184 BCE and their resulting United Kingdom of Israel, which never controlled the coast from Jaffa to Gaza, lasted only about 75 – 80 years, less than a blip in the history of Canaan and Palestine. Even the Hasmonean Dynasty under the Maccabees lasted only about 70 years (circa 140 – 70 BCE) and it was under Roman tutelage.

      By way of comparison, the Crusaders occupied Palestine in whole or in part for about 200 years; Egyptians ruled the region between the River and the Sea for 615 intermittent years, including the era of the Muslim Mamelukes; the Romans ruled the region for 677 continuous years. It was also ruled for several centuries by two other peoples: the Arabs (Muslims), for 447 continuous years (638-1085) and the Ottoman Turks (Muslims), for 401 uninterrupted years (1517-1918).

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 1, 2019, 10:52 am

        || Misterioso: @JohnSmith, et al
        For the record:
        The Jebusite/Canaanites were ancestors of today’s Palestinians and it was they who founded Jerusalem around 3000 BCE. … ||

        Well there you go: “Jebus” sounds like Jesus and Jesus was a Jew ergo Jews are the indigenous people of Palestine.

        Also, if I buy kippers it will not rain and trout live in trees.

        :-)

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        April 1, 2019, 11:09 am

        Misterioso quoting Ilene Beatty: [the Palestinians’ (the ‘Arab population of Palestine’s)] legal right to the country stems… from the fact that the Canaanites were first…
        —————————————————–

        Nonsense.

      • annie
        annie
        April 1, 2019, 1:20 pm

        pst, Sibiriak ~ just wanted to say thank you — huge.

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic
        April 1, 2019, 11:53 am

        Neither the essentialist nor the primordialist ideas of extreme organic nationalism play any role either

        1) in the International Convention for the Prevention or Punishment of the Crime of Genocide or

        2) in 18 U.S. Code § 1091 (Genocide),

        which contains a definition of the US federal statutory crime substantially congruent with the crime of genocide in conventional international law.

        It cannot be overemphasized that there is no statute of limitations for the crime of genocide in either of the foregoing legal systems and that no treaty between Palestinians and the white racist European colonial-settler invader-genocidaires can limit the duty of the international community to enforce customary and conventional international law against the criminal invader-genocidaire conglomeration that controls Stolen Palestine.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        April 1, 2019, 1:04 pm

        Sibiriak: “Nonsense.”

        I agree. The Palestinian’s legal right to Palestine is that they were citizens of the state of Palestine under manadate end were entitled to see their mandated state being released into independence. This has nothing to do with being “Arab” or “Jewish.”

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 1, 2019, 2:51 pm

        “The Palestinian’s legal right to Palestine is that they were citizens of the state of Palestine under manadate end were entitled to see their mandated state being released into independence”

        That, though, is a colonialist’s take. Citizens of the Mandate “State of Palestine” were given citizenship by colonial overlords, but so were armed interlopers who had invaded Palestine explicitly aiming at subverting sovereignty and replacing the rightful owners — with the full support of the colonial power.

        The Palestinians’ legal right to Palestine is that they are the habitual inhabitants of the land and that they are not invaders. Talk of “equal rights” for invaders and their subverting offspring is nonsense.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        April 2, 2019, 10:20 am

        echi: “Talk of “equal rights” for invaders and their subverting offspring is nonsense.”

        I always emphasize that the Jewish infiltration of Palestine in mandate times was without consent of the native population. You should know this by now.

        But whether these settlers were legal or not doesn’t change my claim that only the citizens of Palestine had the right to an indepedent state in all of Palestine. And they also had the right to decide their (future) goverment and immigration policies by majority ruling. Not the UN and most certainly not the agency of a foreign global organization.

    • Nathan
      Nathan
      April 1, 2019, 7:45 pm

      JohnSmith – In the archeological dig that you have brought to our attention, the seal of a clerk was discovered. Therefore, by definition, this man (Natan-Melekh) is not mythical at all. When you find a name of someone in an archeological dig, you have to assume that he’s a real person. And what does it prove that there was such an individual in Jerusalem in the 7th century BC? Well, I can’t think of anything in particular. It’s just interesting. By the way, David’s name has also been discovered in an archeological dig (at Tel-Dan in about 1993). In the case of David, it’s a bit more than “just interesting”. There was an academic “world war” going on between university professors who claimed that he was not a real person and university professors who claimed that he was a real person. So, it turned out that David was a real person. Those who had claimed that he was fiction had a hard time accepting the academic defeat. They claimed that the inscription was a forgery and other such accusations; however, the debate was finished. And what does it prove that David was a real person? Well, I can’t think of anything in particular. It’s just VERY interesting.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 2, 2019, 2:13 pm

        The desperate search for ‘evidence’ of some minor Bronze Age chieftain isn’t that interesting.

        The fact that the occupying power is indulging in archaological excavations in occupied territory, forbidden by the Geneva Conventions, is however quite interesting.

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        April 2, 2019, 8:03 pm

        Maximus – There is no “desperate” search in archeological research. The discovery of David’s name at Tel-Dan was really quite an unexpected surprise. No one was looking for it. Very often archeology disproves the Biblical narrative, and yet the sky doesn’t come falling down. It’s now clear from archeology that the cities destroyed by Joshua (according to the Bible) were already in ruins centuries before the arrival of the tribes of Israel. If there was a King David or if there wasn’t a King David – really it doesn’t matter. Israel is not going to be dis-established because King David was fiction, nor is anyone going to become pro-Israel because it turns out that King David was an historic character.

        Anyway, it turns out that there was such a person, and that’s REALLY interesting. He is, after all, an important character in western civilization. I can’t imagine that it’s really an issue for you if the excavations are legal or not. The anti-Israel crowd has infinite grievances towards Israel, so infinity-plus-one is not exactly breaking news. Or, in blunt terms, I’m a bit incredulous that people who think that the very founding of Israel was illegitimate are really concerned if it’s okay to excavate in the City of David.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        April 4, 2019, 4:26 pm

        Israeli archaeological practice is bullshit. Israel will dig through 17 layers of non Jewish history and dump it in order to find one thin layer that supports Zionist history.

        Such a miserable cult.

  2. annie
    annie
    March 31, 2019, 12:27 am

    what awesome photographs. thank you Annelies Keuleers. i liked visiting your instagram too for photos and your commentary

    in the narrow spaces where Palestinians are allowed to breathe, there is so much living.

  3. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    March 31, 2019, 7:47 pm

    Al Jazeera new documentary about Jerusalem

    Jerusalem: A Rock and a Hard Place – P1(Israel, Trump & future of Jerusalem)

  4. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 2, 2019, 3:14 pm

    ” So, it turned out that David was a real person”

    And here is the definitive proof all captured on camera:

  5. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    April 2, 2019, 3:51 pm

    I do think that the royal house of Judah around 850 was known to some as the House of David. That is a long way, of course, from proving the Deuteronomist account of the United Monarchy, which underlies the view of history rather strongly advocated by Zionist historiography, which overlooks the complex interplay between history and theology which has produced the received Biblical narrative. Haaretz has a long and quite fair article by Ariel Gold, March 27, on this topic. I could wish the likes of Nathan would look further into this matter.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      April 2, 2019, 3:55 pm

      See also R. Geobey, Journal of Hebrew Scrioture ‘The Jeroboam Story’, which is very relevant to understanding the formation and theological purpose of the epic of David.

  6. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    April 4, 2019, 8:17 am

    The events around Land Day have been mythologised like so much of the Palestinian narrative. Palestinian Land Day would be more appropriately referred to as ‘Palestinian Lie Day’.

    True there were Palestinian casualties and true there were land expropriation measures at the time but what about the circumstances?

    What exactly is commemorated on Palestinian Land Day? According to the Arab version, the unprovoked shooting on March 30, 1976, of six Arabs by the police. They are commemorating a lie.

    What actually happened in 1976 has been distorted as this annual event has become an instrument of propaganda. On March 11, 1976, the Israeli government published a plan to expropriate approximately 21,000 dunams (5,250 acres) of land in the Galilee. Only 31 percent of the land in question, or less than one-third, was Arab-owned, some of which was to be used to expand the Arab village of Majar near Acre and to build public buildings in Arab towns. This action by Israel was no different than the eminent domain process that is regularly used in the United States or other countries to acquire land for public projects. Nevertheless, the most prominent political party in the Arab sector at the time, Rakah (The New Communist List), cynically decided to seize upon the decision and called a general strike for March 30. Riots broke out the night before – in which soldiers and police were attacked with stones and firebombs – and continued the following day, resulting in the deaths of six Israeli Arabs. Though the media portrays Land Day as a day when Israeli Arabs peacefully vented their frustrations, Land Day was in fact born in violence, the product of the machinations of a political party that proudly waved the dubious banner of Marxism-Leninism.

    Yosef Goell was present as a highly respected Jerusalem Post reporter collecting material for a series of articles on the Israeli Arabs, in central Galilee, for a number of days before that March 30 and on that day itself. Tension had been building up throughout many Arab communities in Galilee and the Little Triangle over the issue of the expropriation of Area Nine lands near Sakhnin. (In the mid-1980s those lands were returned to their original Arab owners).

    According to Goell what actually set off the rioting that led to the deaths was a wild attack by hundreds of inflamed young Arabs on an unsuspecting IDF convoy driving on the road by the villages of Sakhnin, Arrabe and Deir Hanna.

    There was no prior provocation on the part of that IDF convoy, unless one insists on seeing a provocation in the very presence of an Israeli army unit in the heart of Israeli Galilee. Pro-Palestinian provocateurs have ever since been promulgating the lie that the IDF had cold-bloodedly shot and killed “innocent” Arab demonstrators.

    Israeli Jews were shocked by rampaging local Arab youths shouting “Itbah el yehud!” (slaughter the Jews) as they attacked Jewish motorists driving by their towns, as in Umm el-Fahm, and organizing for pogrom-like raids on neighboring Jewish communities.

    Arabs and Israeli Jewish liberals have justly been demanding that Jews be more aware of Israeli Arab sensibilities and their sense of dignity. But this argument cuts both ways. Arabs should be just as aware of Jewish sensibilities to the “itbah el yehud” battle cry.

    It may be difficult for Israeli Arabs to believe, but many Israeli Jews have not forgotten being threatened and attacked as Diaspora minorities. What makes the situation so dangerous for the Israeli Arabs is that those Jews are no longer helpless but are in command of an army and police. It is sheer madness for a minority to seek to provoke such a majority.”

  7. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 4, 2019, 2:13 pm

    @Mayhem
    “The events around Land Day have been mythologised like so much of the Palestinian narrative. Palestinian Land Day would be more appropriately referred to as ‘Palestinian Lie Day’.”
    or:
    “Israeli media coverage of Land Day has been analyzed and critiqued by Israeli academics. Alina Koren’s 1994 study of seven major Israeli newspapers found that coverage of the preparations and outcome of the day was extensive in March–April 1976, with reports relying almost entirely on statements from official Israeli information sources such as ministers, advisers or “experts on Arabs.” Hardly any space was devoted to the voices of Arab organizers and participants. All of the newspapers examined, whatever their ideological differences, minimized the causes, emphasizing instead two main themes: portraying the demonstrations as the work of a marginal and unrepresentative minority and describing them as a potential threat to state security and law and order. Daniel Bar-Tal and Yona Teichman write: “Of special importance is the finding that all the newspapers delegitimized the participants, as communists, nationalists, extremists, agitators, inciters, enemies or violent people.”[31]

    Bar-Tal and Teichman also cite a 2000 study by professors Gadi Wolfsfeld, Eli Avraham and Issam Aburaiya that analyzed coverage by Haaretz and Yediot Aharonot of the annual commemorations between 1977 and 1997 and found that reports prior to the event each year also relied heavily on news items from the police and military sources. The focus was on security preparations, with reports on Arabs limited to the agitation and incitement put forward by their leadership. Information on the reasons for the protest was provided in between 6% to 7% of the stories published. Almost all of the reporters were Jewish, and only Haaretz had a reporter specially assigned to cover the Arab population. The event was framed within the context of the Arab–Israeli conflict with Arab demonstrators defined as enemies, rather than citizens making demands of their government. A March 22, 1997 editorial in Yediot Ahronoth for example read: “The right to protest does not include the right to run riot, to close roads, to throw stones at passing vehicles. … Again, it has to be made clear to Israeli Arabs that most of their Israeliness is based on their loyalty that they owe to their country and its laws. If they don’t want these laws no one is preventing them from leaving.”[31]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Day

    Which one to believe lets think eeny meeny miny moe – oh sod it you can`t really opt for the Zio version since it involves breaking bread with psychotic pathological liars.

    Meanwhile:
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/israeli-lunar-lander-slips-into-orbit-around-the-moon/

    Oh s..t a planet without people for a people without a planet. Isn`t life great ( for the moment ) if you are a Zio Fascist.

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