Thousands of Palestinians across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory marched Wednesday to commemorate the 40th Land Day, protesting decades of Israeli land grabs.
"Palestinians are entitled to their land and they will give up not one inch," Hamas official Yehya Mousa said at a rally in Gaza City to remember the Palestinian protests against Israeli land seizures that were violently suppressed on March 30, 1976.
Hundreds of Gazans marched from the city towards the Erez crossing in the coastal enclave's north, waving Palestinian flags and demanding the right of return of Palestinian refugees forced to leave their land when Israel was established in 1948.
Senior Fatah leader Zakariyya al-Agha also addressed Gaza's rally, telling protesters: "The martyrs who fell on that day embodied national unity," in reference to the six unarmed Palestinians gunned down 40 years ago.
"As the Palestinian people mark Land Day, they are still facing an (Israeli) policy based on ethnic cleansing and land confiscation, and the Netanyahu government continues with its racist plans to deport the Palestinians and build Israeli settlements and separation walls," he said.
In the occupied West Bank's Ramallah district, Palestinian students from al-Quds Open University and Modern University College who were marking Land Day managed to cut through a barbed-wire section of Israel's separation wall east of al-Bireh.
The students crossed the wall, reaching confiscated agricultural lands and raising a Palestinian flag before Israeli forces intervened. Forces then chased the demonstrators firing rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas.
The PLO for its part slammed Israel's "racist" policy of allocating land solely for its Jewish population at the expense of the land's indigenous Palestinian population. more