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[HumanRights] Land Day

 From: Mazin Qumsiyeh
Date: 2008/3/30
Subject: [HumanRights] Land Day
To: wheelsofjustice@lists.riseup.net


Today we marked land day in Palestine and among Palestinian communities around the world.  Land day events were started by Palestinians inside the "Green Line" (Palestine 1948) in 1976 to mark the Palestinian attachment to our land, a land that is methodically being taken over by the Zionist project.  A story from my visit with an old gentleman  from the village of Aljaroshiya (Tulkarem district) illustrates the problem. This 75 year old man and his large family owned over 100 acres of very productive land.  For generations the family planted olive and almond trees and did extremely well even exporting products to as far away as Syria.  One day he found "orders" hung on a tree that says the land is now taken over for unspecified "security reasons" (which is how most Palestinian land is confiscated).  The order ironically came from the �Custodian of Absentee Property� (the agency charged with managing ethnically-cleansed Palestinian homes and lands). The apartheid wall was then built to separate his house from the agricultural land.  The wall was planned shifted and twisted to include this rich land that used to export 12 tons of olive oil and hundreds of kilos of almonds (clearly a land theft with not a single shred of security issues involved). Before they showed us the orders, the family showed us the land which is now separated from their house by the network of electrified fences. The old man had a stroke after his land was taken over and as a result is now incapacitated.  As he teared, he lamented  that the loss of land is worse than the death of a child because a child is buried but the land is dying every day in front of him behind this monstrous fence and he could not do anything about it and could not burry it and move on.
 
This is just one of thousands of similar stories.  530 Palestinian villages and towns completely depopulated between 1947-1950,  More in 1967 and beyond.  6,000 homes demolished in the past 7 years, and on and on. Palestinians no matter were they are remain connected to the land (just look at their love of Zeit w Zaater, artifacts they keep whether in a  refugee shack or in a million dollar home in the US..).


There is a review of the bigger picture tragic history of ethnic cleansing in my 2004 book "Sharing the Land of Canaan"  including a map of shrinking land left for a planned Palestinian bantustan/ghetto/reservation (see map and sample chapters at http://www.qumsiyeh.org/sharingthelandofcanaan/ ). A more detailed history is found in Ilan Pappe's book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine".

Below are a couple of good articles about Land Day:

What is Land Day
http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/255.shtml
FAQ's on Land Day
http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=3410&CategoryId=4
This land was theirs by Hannah Mermelstein
http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/this_weeks_issue/opinions2/?content_id=4644

ACTION: Make noise, write letters to editor about Palestine and the role of the Israel-first lobby in US foreign policy, write letters to politicians and decision makers etc. If you are Palestinian, consider participation in Birthright Palestine. "Birthright Palestine is a unique program by native Palestinians for Diaspora Palestinians, so as to assimilate them back into their homeland via cultural immersion. It is meant to gather first-generation, western-born Palestinians (over the age of 18-years old) in their ancestral homeland, so that they can reunite and witness firsthand how their brethren are living under illegal Israeli military occupation, while assimilating them into Palestinian society.
for more see http://www.birthrightpalestine.com
If you are not Palestinian, consider going to Palestine with the Palestine Summer Celebration program: http://www.sirajcenter.org/

In other news

(Video)A great little film on being Muslim in America.
http://www.linktv.org/onenation

Readership of Akher Khabar is approaching 28000 in the Arab-American community. Our professional editors strive to provide an effective voice for this community. http://www.akherkhabar.net

Archbisho Desomond Tutu supports the anti-apartheid struggle
http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1612

U.N. Taps American Jewish Critic of Israel as Rights Expert
http://www.forward.com/articles/13037/

"Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen" Carl Sandburg
http://www.intelligencer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=918803+

=============================
Mazin Qumsiyeh
http://justicewheels.org
http://qumsiyeh.org

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