Mar 302018

“The Land Day mobilization taking place under the slogan of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege in Gaza comes as a massive popular response to all of the attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause, particularly the schemes and attacks of the Trump-Netanyahu alliance with the full participation of the reactionary Arab regimes, especially Saudi Arabia,” said Palestinian leftist writer Comrade Khaled Barakat. “Trump has specifically targeted UNRWA and the rights of Palestinian refugees; as they march for return in massive numbers, it is clear that Palestinian refugees will never accept any attempt to erase their existence and that they hold fast and are actively engaged in unending struggle to return to their homes and reclaim all of their rights,” Barakat said.

“Given the strength of this mobilization, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees stream towards this march, it is clear that where the Palestinian armed resistance is strong in a place, the political movement and popular mobilization and participation is also strong. Where the armed resistance is marginalized and repressed, the movement and its popular level are far weaker, as we see in the West Bank,” Barakat noted. “In addition, the absence of popular rights and repression directed against Palestinians that we see in the countries surrounding Palestine means that popular participation in these marches and in the Palestinian national movement is suppressed and inhibited. Where Palestinians find any level of freedom and claim their rights, they organize, struggle and resist.”

“On Land Day, it is clear to see that Palestinians in the homeland and in exile are unified behind their right to return to their homes, making the existential and dialectical relationship between the land and people in Palestine even more visible and apparent,” said Barakat.

“On the anniversary of Land Day, the efforts that we have seen in raising the right to return as the central theme of mobilization is a direct response to the Trump-Netanyahu attempt to liquidate Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause; it makes clear that the Palestinian people, as a collective body and a national liberation movement continue to resist Zionism and imperialism, even in a difficult, fraught moment for our cause,” Barakat said. “Further, this is also a response to the political program of the Palestinian Authority – a popular response and a natural response.”

Barakat noted that “today, all Palestinian resistance forces are united in affirming Palestinian national rights as they have always been constituted: a popular consensus, at the heart of which is return and liberation, the return of the refugees and the liberation of Palestine.”

The power of the mobilization is clear in the enemy’s response as well, Barakat noted. “U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted, denouncing the march, while the Israeli army’s spokesperson called it a ‘march of chaos’ and infamous racist war criminal Avigdor Lieberman a ‘march of incitement,’ indicating their deep fear of Palestinian mass popular organizing and action. This is also reflected in the massive Zionist military mobilization around the ‘fence’ and the threats of violent attacks against popular protests, illustrating the Israeli chaos inspired by this popular initiative.” Barakat noted that the march also “highlights the strong link between the Palestinian struggle for liberation and the urgent need to break the siege on Gaza; this is why, in Gaza, the official name for the march is the March of Return and Breaking the Siege.”

“These mobilizations on Land Day are correcting the course of discussion about Gaza and what the Palestinian situation and struggle is about, not humanitarian aid but liberation. The vast majority of the people in the Strip are refugees and their struggle, from 1948 until today, has been to return to their villages, cities and towns as free people,” Barakat said. “It is important for the Arab masses and supporters of Palestine around the world to support these actions and their demands. The Palestinian masses are setting their compass in the clear, correct direction, beyond slogans of ‘recognition of Palestinian statehood’ towards liberation and return.”

Further, Barakat noted, “these mobilizations come in a time when the so-called Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is trying to convene a phony, sham Palestinian National Council under occupation in Ramallah. We have seen Palestinians in exile, including Palestinian communities in Europe, denouncing these fraudulent attempts to hijack the Palestinian national movement with a fake PNC. Palestinian resistance forces must take this opportunity to see that there are two paths, the path of the Palestinian people as they are mobilized today in the Land Day commemorations and the March of Return, or the path of surrender represented by Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies. That is why, today, the Palestinian resistance must build the alternative Palestinian National Congress, rooted in the popular movement, truly committed to a democratic process that responds to the needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

“Today, on Land Day, the Palestinian student movement, labor movement, women’s movement are united on the right to return and the liberation of the land of Palestine,” Barakat said. “Today, Palestinian refugees everywhere, in Syria, Lebanon, around the world, are organizing events even as they face great hardships on a daily basis. The Palestinian popular classes are taking the initiative and presenting an actual program and alternative, one that is deeply linked to the struggle of the prisoners and the commemoration of the Nakba. Land Day was a Palestinian uprising against land confiscation in 1976 that has become a national day for all Palestinians in the homeland and in exile. And as we approach Prisoners’ Day and the 70th year of Nakba, we must elevate and rise, particularly Palestinians outside.”

Barakat warned of attempts to confiscate the message of ongoing liberation struggle inherent in Land Day. “Palestinian official media is attempting to turn Land Day from a day of struggle and confrontation into a merely symbolic activity. We see this same trend in the actions of some Palestinian institutions and embassies. In reality, these anniversaries are not mere occasions for remembrance but represent an occasion to mobilize a material force for the Palestinian national liberation movement to implement our goals and demands.”

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