The head of the Islamic Movement in Israel said on Friday that the Palestinians would never accept any “concession or bargaining” on Palestinian land, Anadolu has reported. Shaikh Raed Salah made his comments during the Friday prayer in Um Al-Hiran in the Negev, and insisted that the Palestinians “will not accept alternatives” for their land.
The village is targeted for demolition by the Israeli authorities, which want to build a settlement for Jews on its ruins. Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the Friday prayer there yesterday to mark Palestine’s 41st Land Day.
“Um Al-Hiran is our land, we have roots, sand, history, homes and reminders in this land,” said Shaikh Raed. “Our grandfathers lived here, our fathers lived here, we are living here and our sons and grandsons will live and remain here, God Willing.”
In March every year, the Palestinian citizens of Israel commemorate Land Day, and have done since 1976, when the Israeli government confiscated wide swathes of Palestinian land. Six Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the widespread protests which followed the move.
A number of Palestinian community leaders in Israel took the opportunity on this year’s Land Day to visit the houses of those killed in 1976, and many people paid their respects at their graves.
Official statistics show that there are 400,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel, or 20 per cent of the total population.