Some 1,500 Israeli Arabs take part in Land Day protest in Lod
Demonstrators protest against government demolitions of illegal houses in Lod, other 'racist' government policies, burn pictures of Lieberman and carry signs reading 'Enough with the Ethnic Cleansing.'
Some 1,500 Israeli Arabs protested in Lod on Tuesday against government policies which affect Israel's Arab sector, launching the events of Land Day, to be marked on Wednesday.
The protesters were demonstrating against the government demolition of the houses of the Abu Eid family, which left some 50 family members, 30 of them children, without a home.
The protesters raised Palestinian flags, carried signs reading "Enough with the Ethnic Cleansing" and burned pictures of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Israeli Arab Knesset members and Jewish residents of mixed cities also participated in the protest.
Ibrahim Abu Saluk, a member of the Popular Committee in Lod, condemned the burning of Lieberman's photo saying, "This is not the point of the protest, and whoever did that did it on his own accord. We want to show that the policy of demolitions is not the solution."
Abu Saluk emphasized that the main reason for the protest was to demonstrate against the demolition of houses in Lod.
"This problem requires an urgent solution," Abu Saluk said. "The authorities report 1,600 illegal houses throughout the city of Lod, and if they carry out the demolitions the same way they did with the Abu Eid family, a serious humanitarian problem will emerge. There is a problem here and the authorities are ignoring it. People are living here as though they were in a refugee camp."
On Land Day, which is marked on March 30, Israel's Arab citizens protest the expropriation of their lands by the government.
The first Land Day protests were held on March 30, 1976, to protest government expropriation of Galilee land for "security and settlement purposes." Those protests deteriorated into violent clashes with security forces, leaving six Israeli Arab protesters dead.