As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege in Gaza – also the 43rd anniversary of Land Day – Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins Palestinians and people around the world in encouraging all supporters of justice to join in solidarity actions at this critical time. Land Day has been marked since 1976 not only to highlight Palestinians’ connection to the land and their struggle to liberate it from ongoing colonialism, but also to remember the six Palestinians slain on 30 March of that year in Palestine ’48 as they protested against land theft and confiscation.
Palestinians in Gaza, 70 percent of them refugees denied their right to return home, marked Land Day in 2018 with a massive march, bringing tens of thousands and even more to the colonially-imposed “border” and its associated “fence.” They demanded not only an end to the suffocating siege under which they have suffered for over a decade, progressively intensifying and persisting through three devastating wars. They also brought to the forefront the core of the Palestinian struggle for liberation: the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands confiscated by Zionist colonization. It is a struggle that belongs not only to the Palestinians in Gaza, but to all Palestinians around the world, especially those in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and those Palestinians dispersed even further from their homeland.
For organizing in a mass, collective demonstration highlighting this most fundamental Palestinian right, these demonstrators have faced brutal repression and killing for nearly one year. Medics, journalists, children, elders and people with disabilities have been shot down in cold blood by Israeli occupation forces as they protested for their right. And despite the killing, they have persisted and remained, marching each Friday to claim their rights in an uprising that has inspired people around the world, and especially Palestinians, with a clear commitment to achieving their goals: return and liberation.
Indeed, the Israeli occupation state has repeatedly attempted to pressure Palestinians into stopping the marches, through continuing and intensified siege, military attack and brutal military might. Despite the impunity Israeli officials enjoy and the unparalleled support they receive from the U.S.