The Land and Its People: Palestine’s National Land Day
HIC-HLRN issued the following statement on 30 March 2022, the Palestinian national Day of the Land, commemorating the uprising against Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian lands in the Galilee in 1976, which resulted in Israeli forces killing six local protesters.
GENEVA and CAIRO, 30 March 2022—On this occasion of Palestine’s 46th Land Day and fourth anniversary of the Great March of Return in Gaza, we are reminded of the underlying root causes of crimes committed against the Palestinian people since 1948. Reflecting on that history, we must recognize the 125 years of institutionalized material discrimination, population transfer, dispossession and persecution of the Palestinian people through measures understood as constituting the crime of apartheid (pronounced: apărt-hāt/أﭙارْتْهَيْت), as defined in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973).
The first and enduring objective of Zionist colonization has been the optimum removal of the indigenous people and acquisition of its land. As always, the dispossession of the land spells the denial of the bundle of human rights, fundamental among them is self-determination.
In 2021, the Unity Intifadha against apartheid across historic Palestine newly reminded us of the common struggle of the entire indigenous Palestinian people to retain its rightful land and housing on multiple fronts: in Jerusalem (e.g., the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Jabal Mukabbar), Gaza, the Naqab, Galilee, the Triangle, across the West Bank, and from the exile of seven million Palestinian refugees. Lessons and legal findings over years finally have refocused on the whole Palestinians people everywhere and the commonality of their struggle.
On this Land Day, we celebrate the land of Palestine as the fertile common ground to converge these struggles and against deliberate efforts on the part of Israel and the international community to fragment and atomize the Palestinian people. Commemorating these dates and their associated struggles affirms Palestinians’ collective refusal to be erased and their continuous resistance against removal from their land.
We take note also of the UN Human Rights Committee on this day, recognizing the centrality of land to Palestinians’ individual and collective human rights. The Committee’s Concluding Observations today call for Israel to “Take immediate steps to dismantle the Wall in line with the Advisory Opinion of ICJ… with a view to ensuring Palestinians’ full access to their lands and livelihood and enjoyment of the Covenant rights, including the right of self-determination.”
All Palestinians who have been deprived of their land and subjected to gross violations such as forced eviction and serious crimes of population transfer, persecution and apartheid pursued upon the establishment of the Israeli state. Victims are entitled to full reparations under international law. With a view to these international norms, this date also reminds us of the remedy needed to restore the human rights to adequate housing and land of the Palestinian people. In today’s context, this Land Day reminds us also of the delivery from the scourge of war and its associated crimes, as “we the peoples of the United Nations” were promised in the 1945 UN Charter. Meanwhile, apartheid and population transfer crimes were being planned, and remain the practice that we all must resist and remedy.