Ethnic Cleansing Dressed as Welfare Work. November 2023

Below: The customary mix of settler and soldier united  in state-sponsored banditry.

Just to show that the JNF was beavering away with its habitual clearing of  Palestinians from Area C in the West Bank, an editorial of Haaretz in early October produced the following:

“The Jewish National Fund for Hilltop Youth and Annexation
The Jewish National Fund is continuing to bolster its role as a key player in the settlement enterprise and its accompanying looting and dispossession of the Palestinians in the West Bank, in preparation for a future annexation. Like all other settlement players, JNF too seems to view all means as kosher. And if they aren’t kosher, then they’ll be koshered retroactively in the future, after the settlers finish their takeover of Israel.

Over the last two years, the Jewish National Fund has invested 4 million shekels in a project to rehabilitate teen dropouts living on farms and herding outposts in the West Bank. The money, which was meant to fund professional training for teens, is passed on to organizations that encourage the establishment of illegal settlement outposts. A JNF source told Haaretz that the number of West Bank farms the organization funds through its Noar Besikuy department for at-risk youth is greater than the number of farms it funds in the Negev or Galilee.  

It was previously reported that the organization bought land in the West Bank, and that caused a storm at JNF. But since then, JNF has evidently finished emerging from the political closet and declared itself a settler organization in every respect. It had nothing left to do except to adopt all the corrupt practices that the settlement enterprise uses to push the Palestinians off their lands and advance the dream of annexation and apartheid – “maximum territory, minimum Palestinians”.

Over the past decade, herding-farms have become the most common type of West Bank outpost. According to a report issued by the Kerem Navot organization a year and a half ago, the settlers managed during this period to take over around seven percent of Area C – the roughly 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control – via 77 herding farms that together control some 240,000 dunams. Even if these farms are defined as illegal and demolition orders are issued against them, the orders aren’t enforced because of the policy adopted by the prime minister, the Defense Ministry and Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank. And in any case, it’s only a matter of time before they are legalized, especially when the Civil Administration is now controlled by Bezalel Smotrich.

“This project operates in social and geographic peripheral areas and in farms across the country,” JNF said in response. But the occupied territories aren’t the periphery, and “agricultural farms” in the West Bank lie outside Israel’s borders. And judging by its response, JNF is indifferent to their illegality. “The JNF is active in educational programs and does not deal with the legal status of these farms,” it said. In practice, it is directing at-risk youth to join the settlers’ extremist “hilltop youth.”

Like all of Israel’s other national institutions, JNF completed its national mission once the state was established and should have been closed at that time. This is doubly true now that it has become the Settlement and Annexation National Fund.