No 305 Posted by fw, October 18, 2011
Stop the JNF is an international campaign aimed at ending the role of the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (JNF- KKL) in the —
Created in 1901 to acquire land for a Jewish State in Palestine, the JNF-KKL is most commonly known for its campaign to ‘plant a tree in Israel’ in order to ‘make the desert bloom.’
However, the trees are not planted in a barren desert empty of inhabitants that Jewish people have come to populate and make flourish. Lands were, and still are, obtained from their Palestinian inhabitants through exploitative land sales, forced removal or other apartheid State policies.
By the time of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, approximately two-thirds of the Palestinian population had been forcibly removed from their homeland. In addition to funding colonies, the JNF- KKL planted and built forests, parks and recreational facilities on the ruins of hundreds destroyed and depopulated Palestinian villages. These forestation projects served two purposes: to hide the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and to prevent the Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes.
These practices are still underway today. By erasing the traces of Palestinian homes and villages, the JNF-KKL green-washes the history of the colonial settlement of Palestine and covers up its on-going displacement of Palestinians from their land and property.
The JNF-KKL owns 13% of the land in the state of Israel. Since 1953 the JNF-KKL has operated as a part of the State. As a para- statal organization, the JNF- KKL appoints nearly half of the board of the Israel Land Authority (ILA). The ILA then manages both the JNF-KKL’s 13% and an additional 80% of all land in the State of Israel. The JNF- KKL and the State of Israel therefore control 93% of total land in the State.
The activities of the JNF-KKL are based on its discriminatory founding mission and constitution: the removal of indigenous Palestinians from their land and property to hold land in Palestine in exclusive reserve for settlement and use by Jews. The JNF-KKL’s constitution explicitly states that JNF-KKL land and property is not to be rented, leased, sold, or worked by non-Jews.
The State of Israel and the JNF-KKL destroy the natural habitat and way of life of the indigenous Palestinian people who have lived there for thousands of years.
The JNF-KKL has historically not been concerned about the environment at all – instead focusing on forestation and claiming land exclusively for Jews. The JNF-KKL has thus inflicted grave harm on the natural environment in Palestine by its manner of planting, by its use of hazardous chemicals and by planting trees that are not native to the land. Over time, extensive planting of pine trees by the JNF- KKL has killed off much of the native habitat in addition to causing massive forest fires.
In 1950 the JNF-KKL drained Lake Hula in the interests of agricultural development. Once rich with diverse animal and plant life, today the area is a barren desert devoid of life.
“The JNF is not the trustee of the general public in Israel. Its loyalty is given to the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in the state of Israel… The JNF, in relation to being an owner of land, is not a public body that works for the benefit of all citizens of the state. The loyalty of the JNF is given to the Jewish people and only to them is the JNF obligated. The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.” —Response by the JNF to a petition filed with the Supreme Court of Israel (December 2004)
Today, the JNF-KKL’s projects of displacement and forestation of stolen land continue, particularly in the Naqab (Negev), in the south of the State of Israel, and the Jordan Valley (deep in the West Bank).
A current initiative of the JNF-KKL is a 10-year, US$600 million plan ‘to revitalize, develop and preserve the Negev desert.’ In these areas, “development” projects in which the JNF-KKL plays a central role, continue to forcibly displace Palestinian citizens of Israel to make way for exclusively Jewish settlements and JNF parks and forests.
Al Arakib is an unrecognized Bedouin village in the southern desert region of Israel which has been demolished a total of 16 times between July 27, 2010 and February 10, 2011. The Israeli government is intent on permanently clearing away the village of 300 people who are mostly women and children to make way for the Ambassadors Forest being developed by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). After each demolition the residents rebuild. The following 2-minute video clip shows, for the first time, bulldozers of the JNF have been directly involved in the demolitions. (KKL-JNF bulldozer destroys a tent in Al-Arakib — Uploaded by CoexistenceForum Feb 13, 2011)
Al-Araqib is one of the long- standing villages in the Naqab that is currently being “developed.” Large police and military forces protect JNF- KKL demolition tractors and trucks and guard JNF-KKL workers. Residents have now been removed 20 times; some have moved to a nearby town; others continue returning to rebuild their demolished homes and refusing to relinquish their land.
In the Jordan Valley, deep in the West Bank, the JNF-KKL is central to fulfilling Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu’s public commitment to maintain control of the Valley. This promise has meant home demolitions, the theft of water sources, increased military control and destruction of agricultural land and olive groves. nce again the JNF-KKL is partnering with the State of Israel in securing and covering up stolen land and ethnic cleansing – planting parks and building monuments on Palestinian land and property.
The JNF-KKL continues to serve as a global fundraiser for Israeli ethnic cleansing, occupation and apartheid. Each year, the JNF-KKL raises over US$60 million in the United States alone. Despite its role in a State institution of Israel (the Israel Land Authority) and in institutionalized racism and apartheid, the JNF-KKL and its affiliate organizations enjoy charitable status in over 50 countries and many also enjoy consultative status with the United Nations.
Join the campaign in your region to Stop the JNF. In addition to the ongoing struggles against the JNF-KKL in Palestine, the campaign is underway in Canada, France, Britain and the United States
Help stop the human rights and environmental violations of the JNF-KKL —
To join regional campaigns email the following —