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Israeli forces fire tear gas as Palestinians commemorate 45th Land Day in West Bank Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces fire tear gas as Palestinians commemorate 45th Land Day in West Bank

Palestinians are holding commemorative events to mark the 45th anniversary of Land Day [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2021

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Many Palestinians will mark Land Day from home this year in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters in the northern West Bank on Tuesday as many Palestinians marked the 45th anniversary of Land Day from their homes.

Protesters in the archaeological town of Sebastia, near the West Bank city of Nablus, experienced "suffocation" after Israeli forces dispersed them with tear gas, local mayor Mohammad Azem told The New Arab’s Arabic-language site.

Palestinian residents and activists had gathered in the area to send a message of defiance to Israeli troops and Jewish settlers, who frequently storm the archaeological site.

On March 30 1976, Israel's government confiscated 5,000 acres of Palestinian land in villages in Galilee, northern Israel, sparking protest which turned violent, killing six Palestinians and wounding 70.

The day has since been commemorated by Palestinians every year since the events of 1976.

In the Israel border village of Tura, near the northern West City of Jenin, locals on Tuesday marked Land Day by planting olive trees, The New Arab's correspondent in the area reported. Olive trees are often planted to signify the Palestinians' connection to the land.

Yet as was the case last year, most Palestinians will mark Land Day from inside their homes in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus, which is now seeing a deadly new wave in the occupied territory.

Rallies are expected as normal in Palestinian towns in Israel, which has eased its lockdown, as Palestinian-Israelis march to the graves of those killed on Land Day.

Read more: Land Day 2021: Thought Israel's cleansing of Palestinians couldn't get any worse? You were wrong

Domestic and international observers see Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land as having continuing unabated until the present day.

Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, considered illegal under international law, house more than 600,000 Israeli Jews and are have expanded under successive right-wing Israeli governments.

Israeli forces also frequently demolish Palestinian homes - in areas ranging from East Jerusalem to the Negev - on the pretext of not having permits. Permit application are themselves a long process that often fails to produce any outcomes for Palestinians.

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