Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Palestinians Land Day: Statement by the WFTU

On the occasion of the 45th Palestinians Land Day, the Secretariat of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) issued the following statement: 
"The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 105 million workers in 132 countries around the globe, commemorates the Palestinians Land Day and the heroic resistance of the People of Palestine on March 30th 1976 against the Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land. 
On the 45th anniversary of the Land Day, the Israeli occupation, murders, imprisonments and stealing of Palestinian land with illegal settlements, continues with new Israeli annexation plans in the occupied West Bank. At the same time, Palestinian houses are being demolished and families are being displaced, while more than 4.500 Palestinian political prisoners, among whom 150 children, women, ill and disabled persons are imprisoned in Israeli jails. 
We once more strongly denounce the imperialist aggression against the Palestinian people and the criminal policies of Israel and its allies. We reiterate our internationalist solidarity with the People of Palestine for the establishment of their independent Palestinian state on 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its Capital and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland. We demand the end of settlements and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners, especially children. 
The worlds’ trade union militant movement will continue and strengthen our solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters until their final victory."

The Background of the Land Day

 via maki.org.il

On March 11, 1976, Israel’s government, then headed by Yitzhak Rabin, published a plan to expropriate some 20,000 dunams (2,000 hectares or 4,942 acres) of land stretching between the neighboring Arab cities of Sakhnin and Arabeh in the Galilee, 6,300 dunams of which were privately owned by Arab residents of the area. In response to this plan, following a decision by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Israel, local Arab leaders called for a day of general strikes and mass protests against the confiscation of lands to be held on March 30. The mayor of Nazareth, the communist Tawfiq Ziad, was among the local Arab leaders who made such a call.

To frustrate the protest of the Arab community, the governmental declared a curfew to be imposed on the villages of Sakhnin, Arabeh, Deir Hanna, Tu’ran, Tamra and Kabul, effective from 17:00 on March 29, 1976, the day before the general strike. Rabin’s government declared all demonstrations illegal and threatened to dismiss from their jobs any “agitators,” such as schoolteachers, who encouraged their students to participate. However, the threats were not effective, and many teachers led their pupils out of the classrooms to join the general strike and marches that took place throughout the Arab towns in Israel and which were violently suppressed by the military and police.

In the wake of the first Land Day, a year later, in 1977, the Communist Party of Israel and other progressive forces founded the electoral movement Hadash, the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, which has been active ever since and which, in 2015, was instrumental in the founding of the Joint List.