Chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee of Israel, Shuweiki Hatib, stated during the ceremony that “the same youngsters who protested during the first Land Day 32 years ago are the Arab political leaders of today. We will continue to struggle with our heads held high and fight for the rights that we deserve.”
On Land Day Israeli Arabs annually protest the seizure of their lands and the demolition of their homes.
United Arab List-Ta'al Chairman MK Ibrahim Sarsur told Ynet during the ceremony that “Israeli Arabs harbor a growing fear, which worsens each year, that they will find themselves completely removed from Israel’s national agenda. It is time for Israel to take a bold step and give Israeli-Arabs all due rights so that they feel secure as an integral part of the country.”
Abed Anabtawi, secretary of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, noted that “we find ourselves in a time far more dangerous than 1976. Today we are witnessing not only the demolition of homes and ethnic cleansing in ethnically mixed cities, but also a wave of fascism which has become more a part of mainstream society than a fringe phenomenon. We even see this fascist trend in government circles nowadays, making this a far more dangerous era than 32 years ago.”
Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh said that “the first Land Day was a fight for survival , which continues still. Homes are still being demolished, lands are still being seized. The struggle that began in 1976 is bearing fruit, but the crimes that were at its core continue.”
One of the participants in the annual Land Day demonstration, Suha Salam of Dir Hannam, who attended the event with her two children, stated that she attended the protest because “this is my land and no one will take it from me.” She maintained that attendance at Land Day protests has slackened, but that this year thousands did attend the Arabeh protest in order to boldly declare “this is our homeland and we will not go anywhere”.
Land Day protestors marched from Sakhnin and Dir Hannam to the village of Arabeh, some carrying black flags or Fatah banners. MK Effie Eitam (National Union-National Religious Party) called for a ban on Land Day protests Wednesday, noting that “Arab MKs and Islamic groups have turned Land Day into a forum for reckless instigation against Israel and the IDF.”