Scholarship on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict recognizes Land Day as a pivotal event in the struggle over land and in the relationship of Arab citizens to the Israeli state and body politic. It is significant in that it was the first time since 1948 that Arabs in Israel organized a response to Israeli policies as a Palestinian national collective. An important annual day of commemoration in the Palestinian national political calendar ever since, it is marked not only by Arab citizens of Israel, but also by Palestinians all over the world.
Palestinians run for cover as smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas post, in the northern Gaza Strip. Israel struck a number of Hamas positions in Gaza.
A young Palestinian crawls through a tunnel during a military-style exercise at a summer camp organized by the Islamic Jihad Movement in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian student crawls under a large banner made by Palestinian artists to mark the 40th anniversary of Land Day, in Gaza City. Land Day is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976. In response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six unarmed Arab citizens were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others arrested.
For the second day in a row, hundreds of Palestinians have gathered in the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip with hope of passing through the rarely opened Rafah crossing. Sunday’s border opening comes a day after more than 700 people were allowed to enter Egypt a day earlier, as well as more than 700 others who were allowed to return to Gaza after being stuck in Egypt for months. Gaza has endured a tight blockade, enforced by both Israel and Egypt, since the Palestinian group Hamas took control of the territory in 2007.
Egyptian authorities open the border only for brief periods every few months, according to Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli rights group. READ MORE: Palestinians in Gaza mass for rare Rafah border opening Egypt has severely restricted entry through Rafah since June 2013, when Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became president following the overthrow of his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi.
The crossing was last opened in early December. More than 25,000 people have registered to cross Rafah because of urgent needs, including about 3,500 who need to travel for medical purposes, according to a report published at the local Maan News Agency. Gisha notes that “Rafah crossing was open on 27 days only, with transit out of Gaza to Egypt barred on four of these” during the first nine months of 2015.