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[30 Mar 2012]


Land Day, evoked the March 30, marks the date when, in 1976, the Israeli military fired on Palestinians who opposed the expropriation of their lands to build new Jewish settlements and expanding existing ones. Six young Palestinian citizens of Israel, were killed. Nearly a hundred people were injured and hundreds were arrested. Today, Land Day symbolizes Palestinian resistance to the continued expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel and its policy of colonization, occupation and apartheid.

To mark the anniversary, the MPPM - Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and Peace in the Middle East and the Students Union of the Faculty of Arts, University of Lisbon organized a series of events - Exhibition / Movies / Debates - integrated in the initiative "Voices of the Land - Week of Solidarity with Palestine and Peace inthe Middle East "which took place between 26 and 30 March, at the premises of the Faculty, in the campus of Lisbon University.

Exhibit "A Land Without People for a People Without Land"

Between Monday 26th and Friday March 30, was open to the public the exhibition "A Land Without People for a People Without Land" by Nuno Coelho and Adam Kershaw.

In the description of Nuno Coelho, "It is an exhibition of interactive graphics posters on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It produces a visual discourse around the social tensions of everyday life in this region where three continents collide and proposes a new approach to the thinking about the conflict. The speech is critical, but also ironic and, in a relaxed manner, exposes the current situation, inviting people to color the maps and drawings throughout the exhibition. "

Film "The Land Speaks Arabic"

On Monday 26th was shown the movie "The Land Speaks Arabic" (La Terre Parle Arabe), by the Palestinian director Maryse Gargour (2007, 61 minutes).

The movie "The Land Speaks Arabic" reports, based on quotes from Zionist leaders, unpublished archival footage, newspaper clippings of the time, official documents, interviews with historians and Palestinian witnesses prior to 1948, the history of progressive occupation of the territory of Palestine by Jews, with the consequent expulsion of its ancient inhabitants. This process of dispossession had its genesis in the creation of the international Zionist movement in the late nineteenth century. This political movement, secular and nationalist, minoritary among the Jews, called for the creation of a Jewish state anywhere in the world, preferably in Palestine. But in Palestine at that time, and for many centuries, "the land speaks Arabic ': it is inhabited by Palestinians, the Arab people of Palestine.

Film "After the Silence"

On Tuesday 27, was screened the movie "After the Silence" (Nach der Stille), directed by Stephanie Ott and Jule Bürger in a co-production between Germany and Palestine (2011).

Two young German filmmakers go to Palestine where, with Manal, a Palestinian student from Jenin, try to find out what really happened on March 31, 2002. Shadi Tobassi, a suicide bomber from Jenin, blew himself up in the Matza restaurant in Haifa, owned by an Arab, killing 15 people. Among the dead was Chernobroda Dov, an Israeli architect that all life had tried to promote a peaceful understanding between Israel and Palestine. Eight years later, his wife Yael want to visit the family of the suicide bomber in Jenin ...

Film "The Heart of Jenin"

On Wednesday 28, was shown the movie "The Heart of Jenin" (Das Herz von Jenin), directed by Leon Geller and Marcus Vetter (2008, 90 ').

The Heart of Jenin is the story of Chatib Ahmed, a Palestinian boy killed by Israeli soldiers whose father decided to donate his son's organs to six Israeli children to save their lives. A year and a half has passed since then. What could Ismail al-Chatib, the Jenin refugee camp, with its gesture of peace? To find out how the deed of Ismail affected the lives of the recipients families, it is necessary to travel through Israel, from the hills in the north, near the border with Lebanon, through the troubled holy city of Jerusalem, towards the Negev desert, in the south. The film is a journey through the occupied territories and hearts full of prejudices.

Film "Promises"

On Friday 30, was seen the film "Promises" (Promises), directed by Justine Shapiro, B. Z. Goldberg and Carlos Bolado (2001, 106 ').

Several Jewish and Palestinian children are followed for three years and placed in contact with each other, in this alternative look on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The three filmmakers followed a group of seven local children between 1995 and 1998. They all have completely different origins. These seven children tell their own story about growing up in Jerusalem. Through this portrait of their generation, we see how deeply rooted and almost insoluble became the problems of the Middle East. When players turn to speak, in the epilogue, a few years later, it is striking that all lost their childlike innocence.

Debate on the Situation in Palestine and the Middle East

On Thursday 29, there was a debate on the situation in Palestine and the Middle East, with speeches by Carlos Almeida, from the National Directorate of MPPM;  Teresa Cadete, Professor at the Faculty of Arts and also a member of the National Directorate of MPPM; Nuno Coelho, Graphic Designer and Professor at the University of Coimbra; and a Director of the Students' Union.

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[30 Mar 2012]


In March 1976, Israeli authorities announced the confiscation of thousands of acres of Palestinian land from villages in the Galilee "for security reasons", which they did following the imposition of curfew. The local Palestinian leaders responded with the call for a general strike and demonstrations against the expropriation of land in all Palestinian cities on March 30.

Although Israel had outlawed all demonstrations, more than 400,000 people responded to the call by joining the general strike and participating in peaceful demonstrations, from north to south of Israel. There were also solidarity strikes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. To these peaceful demonstrations Israel responded to the intervention of armed forces, backed by tanks, in Palestinian villages. This led to the killing of six unarmed Palestinians and hundreds of wounded and prisoners.

Since then March 30 is Land Day for the Palestinians. On this day, they honor the memory of the victims but also celebrate the date on which, 36 years ago, Palestinian citizens of Israel came together to confront the Israeli authorities who wanted to plunder their land.

With the complacency of the international community, Israel has continued its policy of appropriation of Palestinian land to build settlements, has uprooted trees and destroyed crops, has tore down houses, expelling their inhabitants and precluding their return, and built the "apartheid wall "that divides families and separates Palestinians from their land. Objectively, Israel is preventing the constitution of the State of Palestine and the achievement of two-state solution advocated and supported by UN resolutions.

Palestinian Land Day is marked every year by peaceful demonstrations - that Israel usually want to silence by force - to reaffirm the commitment of the Palestinians to their land. It is also observed around the world with actions of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

On Land Day, the MPPM expresses its solidarity with the Palestinian people's just struggle for their right to a free and sovereign state, condemns the expansionist policies of Israel and apartheid, denounces the international community's inaction in the face of repeated attacks by Israel against the Palestinians and warns against the dangers to peace in the Middle East brought by not resolving the Palestinian question.

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[22 Mar 2012]


The World Water Day is celebrated annually since 1993, under initiative of the United Nations, aiming to draw attention to the importance of drinking water and the need for sustainable management of water resources.

In many countries, appeals are made to the rational use of resources made available to their inhabitants. But in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the population has a more pressing problem: pure and simple access to drinking water for daily consumption.

The United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, held in Cairo on 6 and 7 February, reached these conclusions:

- Palestinians have access to only 10% of the capacity of the water system of the West Bank, while Israel has complete control over the aquifers of the region;

- Israel has continuously, over-exploited water causing the depletion of aquifers, and then selling it back to the Palestinians;

- Half of the Palestinian wells dried up in the last two decades;

- The Israelis consume seven times more water than the Palestinians, while these pay the water five times more expensive than the settlers;

- The Israeli settlements discharging annually, 40 million cubic meters of liquid and solid waste on Palestinian land, and daily 60 million liters of sewage, untreated or only partially treated, are discharged on land, at sea or on drinking water sources;

- The direct damage caused to the Palestinian economy by restrictions on access to water, including the higher price of water consumed, is estimated at 51.9 million dollars (0.6% of GDP);

- The indirect losses, which include, for example, agricultural production losses due to water shortages and health problems attributed to poor water quality is estimated at 1,900 million dollars (23.4% of GDP).

The water is just one of many silent weapons that Israel uses to strangle the weak Palestinian economy. But it is a much more effective than violent methods, because it affects an entire population and does not make headlines on newspapers or television news opening.

At that conference, the impact of occupation on the Palestinian economy in 2010 - which is considered to be undervalued - was estimated at 6,897 billion dollars, representing 84.9% of GDP!

For the end of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel!

For a free, independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state!
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