Hundreds of Arab Israelis took part in a post-Land Day march in Jaffa Saturday, under the banner "Jaffa is in danger."
The demonstrators protested what they called the "expropriation of land and expulsion of families from their homes."
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Waving Palestinian flags, they called for "an end to the racist policies imposed on Jaffa's Arab residents."
The protesters further denounced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "responsible for terrorism against Arabs," called for an immediate freeze of settlement construction and chanted "We will not give up on Jerusalem, we are not afraid."
The march in Jaffa (Photos: Ofer Amram)
Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi (Balad), who participated in the march, said: "What the State failed to achieve during the Nakba, it's trying to achieve today in every corner of our homeland.
"This policy of Arab deportation has been going on for 63 years and it is nothing less than a declaration of war against us," she continued.
"We didn’t take over anyone's land, we didn’t steal land from any Jewish citizen and we didn’t invade anyone's home. I'm not the settler here. I just want to live in my home on my land," she said.
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) added that "Jaffa's Arab residents suffer form grave institutional discrimination. Rightist groups want Judaize Jaffa and aim to empty it from it Arab residents and prevent coexistence.
"The racist legislation against Arabs and the attempt to disconnect Arabs in Israel from their national identity will fail," he added.
The march was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, along with other movements in Jaffa.
MK Tibi at the march
City Councilman Sami Abu Shahada tied the public outcry to the dire housing situation in Jaffa: "The continuing discrimination against the city's Arab's residents is a recipe for disaster. It will ruin the community."
Left-wing activist Michal Wexler, who participated in the march, voiced her support "for the Palestinian people's aspirations and fight for full equality. I'm glad to see people here fight for better housing," she said.
Meanwhile Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Saturday that the annual Palestinian protest amounted to "political terrorism."
Ayalon said Land Day protests were "a continuation of the diplomatic terrorism (Palestinian Authority President) Abu Mazen is using against Israel in international forums."
AP contributed to this report
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