On Land Day in Palestine: Our home is our land

A group of Palestinians hold Palestinian flags and shout slogans during a demonstration within the Palestine’s ‘Land Day’ commemorations on March 30, 2018 in Nablus, West Bank. (photo: Nedal Eshtayah / Anadolu Agency)
Palestinians mark Land Day on March 30th and it is personal.

By Yousef Aljamal | Politics Today | Mar 30, 2021

The relationship a peasant has with the land is like the relationship between a mother and her children. It is deep and interconnected in a way that a settler-colonial society can never understand.

When in 1948 Zionist militias invaded the village of Aqer, where my family is originally from, my great-grandfather was one of a few poorly equipped fighters who tried to stop the invading forces. The fighters took up posts at the village school, located nearly a kilometer from the village.

Soon after, and after some resistance, the invading militia took over the school, killing the fighters who remained inside, including my great-grandfather, who was found dead inside the building. My grandfather buried his father in the village graveyard only to become a refugee for the rest of his life in Gaza days later.

A few years later, my uncle Ahmed, named after my great-grandfather, received an unexpected visitor at his Gaza clinic. The visitor was the person who had found my great-grandfather’s body decades ago at the village school. He had kept some of my great-grandfather’s belongings for decades and was looking for my family so as to return them. When he met my uncle, he gave him a pocket watch that had belonged to my great-grandfather and which he had kept for nearly three decades.

He told my uncle the story behind the pocket watch and this story has been passed down orally in my family from generation to generation. The picture of my great-grandfather still hangs on the walls of my extended family’s home in our refugee camp in Gaza.

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