'The land speaks Arabic' / A public near its breaking point
Processions and rallies in Jaffa and Kalansua, a central rally in Arabeh in the Galilee and a host of alternative events and ceremonies in theater halls and student dorms marked the 32nd annual Land Day on Friday.
The multitude of events, together with the fact that each activity draws significant crowds, attest to the fact that the Arab-Israeli public has reached a breaking point, as well as to the process of self-consolidation the sector is currently undergoing.
"The land speaks Arabic," a sign read at the Jaffa rally yesterday. It does not take too much imagination to understand the meaning of this statement. The Arab minority in Israel is clinging to their homes, to the physical space. This is primarily because this minority feels constantly threatened.
And that is always the case for minorities, particularly for small minorities and primarily for small native minorities. In Israel, they fear being transferred. They feel anger at the destruction of illegally built homes. This is true every year, all year round, but this year it appears things have reached a climax.
Land Day, which is marked every March 30, long ago became more than an Israeli phenomenon. It began as a form of fierce protest over the expropriation of Arab-owned lands across Israel.
The first Land Day protests were held on March 30, 1976, to protest government expropriations of Galilee land for "security and settlement purposes." Those protests deteriorated into violent clashes with security forces, leaving six Arabs dead.
It is now marked by the whole Palestinian nation, which has adopted its underlying principle. Land Day is commemorated in the Palestinian Authority, in refugee camps across the Arab world and in solidarity gatherings all over the region. One was in Yemen, where MK Ahmed Tibi was the keynote speaker.
This Land Day is a continuation of the events that began in January, when the state announced that it would not prosecute police officers who killed 13 Palestinians during violent riots in October 2000. And its another sign that conflict could easily reach the streets of Arab Israelis.
Like us on Facebook and get articles directly in your news feed