On Land Day we are thinking of the 2 million Palestinians living in Israel 

March 28, 2024

In the past six months the fate of Palestinians in Gaza, and increasingly also in the West Bank, is being seared on the global consciousness via broadcast and social media. With the horrifying news comes a raised awareness of the impact of the Israeli occupation on the lives of Palestinians. 

What may be less known is that there are around 2 million Palestinians who live in the state of Israel – often referred to as “Israeli Arabs” – who face their own unique set of challenges.

Origins of Land Day

From the Nakba in 1948 onwards, one law after the other was introduced which resulted in further disassociating Palestinians from their land and property, and preventing those who fled from returning to their lands and homes.   

In 1976 Palestinians, both in Israel and the West Bank, came together and rose up against this injustice in a series of organised strikes.  On 30th March and the days thereafter, these were crushed, with excessive numbers of police and military activated to quell the dissent. Six Palestinians lost their lives and up to 100 were injured, with many more arrested. The 30th of March has subsequently become known as Land Day and is marked to honour the fallen but also to acknowledge the unwavering resilience of Palestinians in defending their land, rights and dignity against encroaching forces of oppression.  

Tenacity and Resilience

Nowadays Palestinians find themselves corralled into overcrowded small townships, often experiencing substandard living conditions, and though representing 21% of the population of Israel, they own a mere 3% of the land.  

In their 2022 report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Amnesty International found many examples of active oppression and forcible transfer of the population. 

Yet Palestinians are still managing to cultivate their remaining land, producing traditional and new crops alike, such as za’atar—a herb that, until it was declared illegal by Israeli authorities, grew wild and was foraged.

Our mission at Zaytoun is to support Palestinian producers through fair trade – acknowledging the complex realities of their existence across this divided land. We will continue to explore ways for their products to access an appreciative and supportive market in the UK. 

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