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2008 Land Day Events Fall under Shadow of Apartheid and Settlement Expansion

Saturday 29 March 2008, by Palestinian National Initiative

Palestinians will mark the 32nd anniversary of Land Day this year with a week-long series of peaceful demonstrations throughout the West Bank. Land Day commemorates the killing of 6 Palestinians by Israeli troops in the Galilee on March 30, 1976 during peaceful protests over the confiscation of Palestinian lands to facilitate the "Judaization" of the Galilee, by building more housing for Israeli Jews on Palestinian land, and by squeezing out its Palestinian population.

"Past events continue to resonate deeply in today’s context, where Israel has created an Apartheid system through the confiscation of Palestinian land to build illegal settlements and the Apartheid Wall," said Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, a veteran leader of the non-violence movement in Palestine. "This wholly undercuts its insistence that it is a willing partner for peace and makes a mockery of international law," he continued.

Last week, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak approved the transfer of 5 mobile homes to an illegal Israeli settlement in the south Hebron Hills. This is the latest in a series of settlement expansion proposals approved by Israeli authorities since Ehud Olmert declared at Annapolis that Israel will abide by all its commitments under the Roadmap. This is the same Roadmap that calls specifically on Israel to immediately freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth.

Since December 2007, Israeli authorities have announced plans to build an additional 307 housing units in the Har Homa settlement; another 750 apartments in the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement; and 750 new homes in the Givat Ze’ev settlement

Dr. Barghouthi called for mass participation by Palestinians in tomorrow’s peaceful protests to promote national unity and the strategic choice of popular non-violent resistance against Israel‘s ongoing occupation and Apartheid system.

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