Land Day – BDS Global Day of Action 2011
For all the activities undertaken for the BDS Global Day of Action, please click here
Today is Palestinian Land Day, a day that commemorates the day in 1976 when Israeli security forces shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel and injured 70 others who were protesting against the expropriation of Palestinian land to build new Jewish-only colonies and expand existing Jewish cities[i].
Today, Land Day symbolizes the Palestinian resistance to Israel’s ongoing land expropriation, colonization, occupation and apartheid, and is celebrated with the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) Campaign Global Day of Action.
Commemorations and rallies are being held all over the world, along with BDS actions. In Gaza, sits-in were organised with people brandishing banners of Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons and a march towards Al-Azhar University from Gaza City has been broken up by Hamas. In the 1948 territories, many Arab shops and businesses are on strike for the day and schools have also closed in commemoration of the loss of lives and in protest against the ongoing human rights violations and expropriation carried out by the Hebrew State.
Today, around 400 000 Israeli settlers live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories[ii], in gross violation of Article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that:
The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.[iii]
The ongoing settlements are also being facilitated by the presence of the Separation Wall that is being built by Israel, in contradiction with the Advisory Opinion of 9th of July 2004 given by the International Court of Justice. Mass expropriations are also happening in East Jerusalem, and the Israeli politics of fragmentation of the Occupied Territories is only making Palestinian lives more and more difficult each day, violating their freedom of movement amongst other human rights. These expropriations and settlements are also coupled with racist and discriminatory laws, such as the recently passed one that allows admission committees in small communities who have the power to ban new residents who “do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community”[iv], or the citizenship law passed on Monday which entitles Israel the right to revoke the citizenship of those who commit”serious security breaches” to the government or the public[v].
The demonstrations in Lod, which gathered over 1500 Palestinians who hold the Israeli citizenship, are only one example of the many actions that are taking place to protest against the ethnic cleansing policy of the Israeli State: BDS actions of different shapes and sizes have been organised from New York, where a flash mob has been done in Grand Central Station, to information stalls in Dublin to calls for the boycott of settlements products at Bed, Bath and Beyond in San Fransisco, and the list goes on.
For Land Day, we would like to invite you to reflect on the UN 1993 definition of Ethnic Cleansing (“the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous.”) and on the crime of Apartheid, as consigned in the 1999 Rome Statute instating the International Criminal Court[vi] (1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: (…)
(j) The crime of apartheid;
2. For the purpose of paragraph 1: (…)
(h) “The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime;
Now please compare these definitions to what is happening at the moment in Palestine. And Act.