Palestinians demonstrate, plan trees to mark anniversary of Land Day

2013-03-30 19:49:40 GMT2013-03-31 03:49:40(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

GAZA/RAMALLAH, March 30 (Xinhua) -- With marches and protests, Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip marked on Saturday the 37th anniversary of the Land Day, while some planted olive trees as a symbolic move to show adherence to their course.

The Land Day is a time to remember the six Palestinians killed during protests against the 1976 Israeli decision to confiscate 21, 000 acres of the lands owned by Israeli-Arabs, or Palestinians living in northern and southern Israeli towns.

Dozens clashed with the Israeli soldiers during their demonstrations Saturday.

According to witnesses, the most violent clash broke out at the Israeli army checkpoint of Qalandia between Ramallah and Jerusalem in the West Bank, where demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and threw stones at the soldiers, who dispersed them with teargas and rubber-coated metal gunshots.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, reiterating they are sticking to the Palestinian lands. They vowed to support the establishing of an independent Palestinian state and also the ending of the internal Palestinian division.

Two young Palestinians were injured in the clashes between the demonstrators and the Israeli soldiers, and 15 others received quick medications after inhaling teargas, said a medical source in the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

Similar demonstrations were held on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and in the town of Burin, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad joined one of the demonstrations, and planted with demonstrators small olive trees in the lands close to east Jerusalem where Israelis are planning to build more settlements.

Meanwhile, one Palestinian was moderately injured after being shot by Israeli troops' gunfire during a demonstration close to the borders between southern the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Dozens of Palestinians also demonstrated near the Erez crossing point between northern the Gaza Strip and Israel, waving Palestinian flags and carried posters written in both English and Arabic calling on Israel to end its military occupation of the entire Palestinian territories.

In a statement to mark the Land Day, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) said that the danger of settlement activities, the construction of the wall and the violent behavior of the settlers "are all ticking bombs that threaten the security and stability in the entire region."

"Freezing the peace process because the Israeli government is sticking to its policy of settlement expansion (which) will certainly undermine the world-backed principle of the two-state solution," said the official PNA statement, which called on the international community to put an end to Israel's policy.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) meanwhile called for expanding the circle of popular struggle against the occupation and settlement as well as against the confiscation of lands and all other Israeli measures practiced against the Palestinians.

Also on the day, while Fatah Party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian people "are determined to keep their steadfastness on their lands and keep their sacrifices until the end of the military occupation and the removal of all settlements," Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, said armed resistance against the occupation "will remain a strategic choice for our people towards gaining back our rights and lands and liberate our holy sites."

Other Palestinian factions also called for unity among the Palestinians and ending the internal division. They said in separate leaflets that "unity among the Palestinians would enable our people to easily end the occupation and establish our independent state."

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