Israeli MK Taleb A-Sana of the United Arab List (Ra'am Ta'al) accused the government Monday of “Judaizing the Galilee and the Negev” by encouraging Jews to move to those areas. A-Sana called on the government to encourage Arab life in those areas and to “adopt a policy of developing the Galilee and Negev for all residents.”
A-Sana was one of several Israeli Arab MKs to attend “Land Day” events on Monday. The yearly day of marches and protests is held in memory of events in 1976, when six Arabs were killed during riots over government confiscation of land.
Protests took place in the Negev, the Galilee, Judea and Samaria and elsewhere in the Arab world. Protests are scheduled to take place in the United States, Canada and multiple European Union countries as well.
Thousands attended the central protest in Israel, in the northern village of Deir Hanna. Many carried Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) flags.
The slogan of the 2009 Land Day was, “We are all united under Israel racism and fascism.”
MK Afou Agbaria of Hadash said he was protesting continuing confiscation of land, while MKs Mohammed Barakeh and Masoud Ghanem focused their concern on the election of Zionist and religious parties in the most recent elections.
MK Jamal Zahalka, the chairman of Balad, said his party would file a bill asking to recognize Land Day as an official national holiday for Israeli Arabs. In addition, the party plans to demand that the government return land claimed by the Arab community.
Fatah spokesman Fahmi A-Zarir congratulated Israeli Arabs on Land Day. The day commemorates “Palestinians who sacrificed themselves in defense of their nation and their homeland,” he said.
A-Zarir promised that Fatah would “defend the land and oppose the Israelis” until a new Arab state is created west of the Jordan River.