Israeli Arabs mark Land Day protests from home

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Most Israeli Arabs and Palestinians commemorated the so-called Land Day from inside their homes for the first time Monday, in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The annual event usually sees thousands of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians take to the streets in demonstrations against Israeli policies.

But this year with Israel and the Palestinian territories locked down to limit the spread of COVID-19, organisers gave speeches online instead.

Protests had been scheduled along the border with Gaza, but were cancelled due to fears of coronavirus.

The West Bank too was largely quiet, with Palestinians asked to mark the day in their homes.

In northern Israel, Arab citizens went to their windows and rooftops to sing, wave Palestinian flags and read poetry.

Land Day commemorates the killing of six Israeli Arabs by security forces during a 1976 march against Israeli plans to seize large sections of land in the north of the country.

Arab Israelis make up around 20 percent of the country's population and are descended from Palestinianswho remained on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948.