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Friday, 30 March, 2001, 04:51 GMT 05:51 UK
Remembering Land Day
Har Homa
The Har Homa settlement project sparked Palestinian land protests
Land Day is the day when Israeli Arabs hold demonstrations to mark the loss of their land to Israel in 1948.

It is held on 30 March in commemoration of six Arabs killed by Israeli security forces in 1976 during mass protests against the farm confiscations in the Galilee.


Every day I pass near the statue, the scene of the killing comes to mind - you cannot imagine how much this feeling hurts

Resident of Sakhnin
The area confiscated was about 5,000 acres of Arab-owned land between the Arab villages of Sakhnin and Arrabe.

These areas were classified by the Israeli Government as "closed military zones" and were later heavily developed for housing for Jewish Israelis.

Local Israeli Arab leaders called for a general strike and protests. At the end of the day, six people were dead and 100 injured.

'Spirit lives on'

Today at the entrance to the cemetery in Sakhnin, there is a monument with the inscriptions in Hebrew and English reading simply: "In memory of those who fell on Land Day."

The Arabic reads: "They died so that we can live, and their spirit lives on."

Sea of Galilee
Plans to confiscate land near the Sea of Galilee were announced in 1976
"Every day I pass near the statue, the scene of the killing comes to mind," one resident of Sakhnin told Reuters news agency.

"You cannot imagine how much this feeling hurts."

Sakhnin, where a main Land Day rally is to be held on Friday, is home to about 24,000 Israeli Arabs.

Residents say they expect larger demonstrations this year than on previous years because the event will have a greater significance for the town this time.

In October last year, two of its residents were shot dead by Israeli police after they joined demonstrations showing solidarity with the Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

Israeli Arabs have historically complained of discrimination in many areas of life, including employment and access to education and health care.

Land Day is also an act of protest at what some Israeli Arabs describe as a kind of apartheid.

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