US President Barack Obama’s visit to the region confirmed his bias toward
Israel, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told crowds in Gaza on Friday in a
speech on the eve of the 37th Land Day, Palestinian news agency Ma’an
Haniyeh warned his audience that Palestinians face ongoing
political, economic, military and media campaigns to give up their
“We reject resettlement in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan or the Sinai,”
Ma’an quoted Haniyeh as saying, emphasizing that Palestinians must reject the
idea of settling in any land other than “Palestine.” He added that Hamas is keen
to reach a reconciliation agreement with the rival Fatah
Meanwhile, approximately 2,000 Israeli Arabs took part in a
protest in Taibe ahead of Land Day, which Palestinians will mark on
MKs Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) and Ahmed Tibi (United Arab
List-Ta’al) participated in the rally.
Land Day is held annually on March
30 to commemorate the deaths of six Galilee Arabs in 1976 riots held over a
government decision to confiscate land.
In the West Bank, protesters
clashed with soldiers on Friday at a demonstration ahead of Land Day in which
Palestinian and international activists organized a march between five villages
located in the south Hebron hills. The villages are at risk of being cut off
from the rest of the West Bank if planned construction of settlements and the
security barrier goes ahead.
What was supposed to be a peaceful march
turned violent when soldiers tried to stop the demonstrators from accessing a
local road. The soldiers fired tear gas to try and disperse the crowd, and
several people were detained.
Israeli construction in the West Bank is
seen by the Arab community as a way of altering the population demographics in
order to create a Jewish majority in the area.