Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement this week said that “the land is at the heart of our conflict with the Israeli occupation”.
The declaration, made in a statement on the occasion of “Land Day”, also expressed support for a “popular struggle” against Israel.
Land Day commemorates the initial government takeovers of land in the Negev and Galilee which were first announced in 1976. During ensuing riots and clashes with Israeli security forces, a number of Arabs were killed.
Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs call these takeovers land "expropriations," though Israel notes that these lands were taken over by authorities for security purposes, and were never actually legally owned by the Arab claimants.
In its statement marking the day, Fatah said, “Our people's sacrifice for the sake of their land in the territories of 1948 is proof of the holy link between the Palestinian man and his land, as the land of Palestine is the reason for our existence, and we will live on it forever.”
“We are fighting not only for its liberation, but also to prove our historical eligibility and eternal relationship with it, because there is no dignity and true freedom without the Palestinian homeland in the land of Palestine,” the statement added.
Fatah also expressed support for a “popular struggle” which is meant to use “legitimate” tools in order to achieve the realization of freedom, independence and sovereignty of the State of Palestine within the borders of June 4, 1967.