More than 1,500 Arab protestors launched Land Day events in Lod on Tuesday. Some demonstrators burned photos of Foreign Minister Avgidor Lieberman. "It's because he's the most racist person in the country, we can't stand the sight of him and he'll be well advised to stay away from our communities," one protestor explained.
The protest was organized by popular committees in Lod, Ramle, Jaffa, the village of Dahmash, the Khutwa organization and the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee.
The demonstrators protested against the demolition of Arab homes and racism towards the Arab sector. They accused the government of planning to expel Arabs from Ramle, Lod and other Arab towns. "We shall not yield while our lands are being stolen, we shall stay here and survive," one protestor said.
Among the protestors were Knesset members Hanin Zoabi, Ahmad Tibi, Mohammad Barakeh, Afu Aghbaria and Hanna Swaid.
Burning Lieberman photos (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
MK Talab El-Sana told Ynet: "There is a plan to destroy Arab neighborhoods and replace them with buildings for haredi Jews and that is why we must support the residents of Lod, to keep them on their lands and stand up to the policy of destruction."
He added that the UN must be urged to fight "these crimes."
"Land for us is identity, existence, survival and our future. It is very important to preserve this."
Young Arabs lack awareness towards identity (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
Muhammad Hadad, a resident of Ramle and one of the organizers of the rally said the Khutwa group's aim is to effect change and noted it is not affiliated with any political party. He further added that 15 demonstrations against house demolitions were held in the past few months.
"We want to put Ramle-Lod on the map, to prevent the razing of homes. There are more than 1,500 razing orders for houses in the Lod-Ramle region to be replaced by Jewish homes. And we haven’t even addressed the issue of attempts to transfer Arab lands."
Hadad admitted that many Arab youths lack awareness towards identity, "both Palestinians and Israelis." He noted that the group has many plans to achieve their goals. "We are willing to stand in front of the bulldozers to prevent the demolitions."
Muhammand Kahtib, a resident of Qalansawe, told Ynet: "To me, land is my life. We shall not let anyone seize the land. I see that the time has come for bigger protests in order stand up to the Israeli government which strives to destroy the Arab sector in Israel. This day appears to be getting closer.
"I am sure there will be sever consequences should Israel continue this policy of injustice because a person can only suffer so much. Eventually it will all explode."
Commenting on Tuesday's protests, Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau called Arab Knesset members who took part in the Land Day protest in Lod "a bunch of scumbags".
He said that MKs Hanin Zoabi, Ahmad Tibi, Mohammad Barakeh, Afu Aghbaria and Hanna Swaid were like the comedians of the Arab population. "They need to be publicly condemned, their funding sources should be examined and their connections to terror organizations inspected," he told Ynet.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report