The Higher Committee for Follow-up, consisting of majority of Palestinian political factions in the occupied West Bank, decided Saturday that due to current widely-spread Coronavirus in Palestine and other world countries, there will be no marches for marking the Palestinian Land Day of March 30, 2020.

Instead, the committee urged all categories of Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Diaspora, to launch some digital events and activities by means of social media and online, to mark Land Day.

In a statement, issued Saturday, the committee said that the 44th anniversary of Land Day comes in the context of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, with almost all sectors of public life paralyzed.

The statement outlined a series of, what it described as Israeli apartheid measures, over the past several years, including non-recognition of some Bedouin Arab-Israeli communities in the southern Naqab desert, where tens of thousands of indigenous Palestinians live.

It also maintained that this year, Land Day comes just two months after the United States (US) announced the so-called ‘deal of the century’, “which aims at liquidizing the Palestinian cause and giving Israel an upper hand over the lands of Palestine”.

In response to the aforementioned Coronavirus crisis, which has prevented public gatherings and enforced a great deal of precautionary measures, across the occupied Palestinian territories, Palestinian political parties, involved in the Follow-up Higher Committee, called for a series of online/digital actions for marking Land Day.

Among the proposed actions, according to Saturday’s statement, are to broadcast the Palestinian national anthem, for inhabitants to stand on rooftops of their homes, to light a digital candle for victims, and for people to carry the Palestinian flag.

The committee also called on users of social media networks to replace their profile pictures with the Palestinian flag or images of those killed by Israel forces, back in March 31, 1976, known now as Land Day.

The committee urged all concerned Palestinian bodies including intellectuals, researchers, poets, writers and other artists, to manifest Land Day, each in their own way, as a means of raising awareness for the international community.

In the Gaza Strip, the National Palestinian Organizing Committee of the Great March of Return, declared on Saturday, cancellation of what it termed a One-million-member march, planned for Monday, March 30.

A statement, released by the committee, read ” the anniversary this year comes in a time people are being forcibly locked down in their homes, because of the Coronavirus, therefore, our Palestinian masses in Gaza are strongly encouraged not to approach the border fence with Israel, to mark Land Day. All should stay at homes”.

The Great March of Return was launched in Gaza on March 30, 2018, to mark Land Day and to demand lifting of the now 13-year-old Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory.

For almost a year and a half, organizers of the march have held weekly border protests, right along the Israel-Gaza border, east of the tiny coastal enclave.

Palestinian Land Day is an occasion, in which the majority of Palestinians inside the occupied Palestinian territories and in the Diaspora, renew their connection to the Palestinian homeland.

Back in 1976, Israeli authorities in the Arab-Israeli town of Sakhneen and some other nearby areas, confiscated around 1500 acres of Palestinian-owned farm lands for colonial settlement purposes.

The confiscation sparked widespread protests, across Arab-Israeli towns. Israeli police dispersed the crowds by lethal force, claiming the lives of six Arab protesters.

Israeli colonial settlement activities were officially kicked off by Israel in the 1970’s, as the Israeli occupation authorities in both Gaza and the West Bank, began erecting dozens of colonial settlements on Palestinian-owned lands.

As of today, Israeli colonial settlements have strangulated Palestinian-populated areas in the West Bank.

Back in 2005, Israel disengaged unilaterally from Gaza and evicted 17 such settlements, along the coastal Gaza Strip. Two years later, Israel imposed a crippling blockade of the land, air and sea, on the Gaza Strip.

Image: Days of Palestine