A decade after abolishing the Military Rule over its Palestinian citizens in 1966, Israel resumed the expropriation of Palestinian-owned land in the Galilee. Land Day, first held on March 30, 1976, as part of the Palestinian response, has been marked every year since as a day of protest against dispossession and landgrab. Transcripts of a Settlement Committee session from February 1979, chaired by Minister Ariel Sharon offers a frank, direct depiction of Israel’s plan for the swift takeover of Galilee lands: Through mass forestation and fast-track establishment of small Israeli settlement points (“Mitzpe”), the state could secure, “land reserves for settlement activity for the next 20, 30, or 40 years.”
Transcripts of the joint government and World Zionist Organization Settlement Committee
The Settlement Committee discussed a plan to establish some 30 mitzpe communities all around the Galilee. Unlike permanent settlements, these communities could be built rapidly, allowing the government to put facts on the ground until permanent settlements could be built . Another tool for swift takeover of Galilee lands was mentioned – forestation of more than 40,000 dunams of state land. A representative of the Settlement Division presented the plan to the committee, some of its members wondered if and when this temporary settlement plan could address the main issue from their point of view: The question of the Galilee’s demographic future.