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 reported.

Haniyeh warned his audience that Palestinians face ongoing political, economic, military and media campaigns to give up their land.

“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 party.



Meanwhile, approximately 2,000 Israeli Arabs took part in a protest in Taibe ahead of Land Day, which Palestinians will mark on Saturday.

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.

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