Palestine’s Land Day: In 2018 mass protests, in 2022 armed struggle
This 30th of March may more symbolically represent something very different for the youths of Palestine today than it did for those of past generations.
Land Day, first started in the 1948 territories of occupied Palestine, was revived again in 2018 and has shaped the way Palestinian youths are today opposing the occupation of their lands. Whilst mass demonstrations were used a few years ago, today we see a shift towards the use of armed struggle in order to oppose "Israel’s" settler colonialism.
In 1976 Palestinian demonstrations erupted in the Galilee, in addition to areas such as Wadi Ara and al-Naqab (the Negev). The protests inside the 1948 territories of Palestine came as a reaction to the Zionist entity’s expropriation of thousands of dunams of Palestinian land, resulting in Zionist forces killing 6 Palestinians and injuring of hundreds of others. Every year since, Palestinians have marked Land Day on the 30th of March, in order to remember the resistance of their people to "Israel’s" settler-colonial regime.
The 30th of March, however, may more symbolically represent something very different for the youths of Palestine today, than it did for those of past generations. This is also the date on which the ‘Great Return March’ was launched in 2018, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip protested against the separation fence/wall between them and their lands from which over 70% of the population are originally from and are forbidden to return to. The Palestinian refugees and native Gazans hoisted up banners calling for the implementation of United Nations General Assembly resolution 194, which demanded the Palestinian right of return to their homelands.
The Great Return March continued for over a year, it was overwhelmingly non-violent and resulted in no deaths of Israeli soldiers or settlers. Many international observers thought that this was it, the international community was finally going to be forced to break its silence and the blockade on Gaza would be put to an end. They were unfortunately wrong. The nonviolent protest movement, one of the largest in history - in terms of the percentage of the population in question - only gave Israeli snipers the opportunity for mass murder. Over 300 Palestinian civilians were massacred, more than 30,000 were injured. The international community remained silent, the Western media and governments defended "Israel", barely even paying attention to the suffering of Gaza’s demonstrators. Women, children, infants, medical workers, journalists, disabled persons, and elderly were amongst the dead and injured, overwhelming Gaza’s already brittle health sector.
The world sat by and did nothing as the Palestinian people did exactly what is always asked of them, nonviolent resistance, quoting international law, and asking for their rights. Not only did the world media sit by and underreport the demonstrations, when they did touch on the subject they described them as “clashes” and “border riots”. This was despite the fact that no such “border” exists between Gaza and "Israel". As for the allegation that there were clashes; if so, where are the dead Israelis? Where are the injured Israelis? What really occurred is that a heavily militarized force sat behind mounds of dirt or military towers, behind layers of barbed wire, on top of militarized fences/walls, and shot at defenseless Palestinians like fish in a barrel, often with banned explosive bullets. This was not just the likes of Fox News that reported on the demonstrations like this, it was the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, and just about every other mainstream Western news outlet you could think of.
Land Day in 2018 should have been, according to the liberal pundits who preach nonviolence for the Palestinians - but not for Ukrainians against Russia’s military of course - that ended all their oppression. Instead, it was the beginning of a massacre, a catastrophe.
On this Land Day, the Palestinian people prepare for the month of Ramadan ahead of them, where fascist Israeli settler mobs threaten to raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, they do so in a very different environment than the one we saw in 2018. The world lied to the Palestinians when they told them they could take back their rights through nonviolent resistance, and saw last May, that the only time they can extract a win against their occupiers is through armed struggle. The younger generations are tired of the lies and a Palestinian Authority that collaborates with the Zionist occupier through security coordination, they see that there is no hope in waiting on the Oslo process. The armed struggle is now rising inside the 1948 territories, the West Bank, Al-Quds, and is no longer isolated to the ‘Joint Room’ of resistance factions in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian armed struggle is undergoing a new revival and this time it will take more than empty promises to stop it. A United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), B’Tselem, and many more have declared "Israel" an Apartheid regime and this system of injustice will be confronted by any means necessary.