Why the JNF?
A visit to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) parks website is to see a prime example of Greenwashing. The impressive lists of parks, cycle routes, forests, water reservoirs conspire to hide the brutal truth of ethnic cleansing. About 750,000 people were ethnically cleansed, about 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed, their names were erased or replaced by Hebrew names, and the native flora was replaced by pine trees and others.
Even the map on the front page has obliterated the existence of Palestine.
Yossef Weitz was was the powerful director of the Jewish National Fund’s Land Settlement Department between 1932 and 1948. He made three things clear. The Zionists must ethnically cleanse the Palestinians.[i] They must be prevented from returning[ii] and that after the cleansing of the destroyed villages Jewish settlements or parks would be put in their place.[iii]The Jewish National Fund’s park building enabled Israel to say to Palestinian refugees and the world that the land is being used.
JNF official Michael Katorza stated “a large portion of JNF parks are on lands where Palestinian villages used to stand, and the forests are intended to camouflage this.”
This is a picture taken in 2010 inside Canada Park which covers the destroyed village of Imwas and two others.
The Jewish Journal informs us “In a land where even trees have become politicized as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the pine tree has become emblematic of a renewed Jewish presence here, while the olive tree has become a symbol of the Palestinians’ ties to the land.”
The truth is that the Olive tree is better suited than the Pines that were planted.
In 2020 “In an extensive survey conducted by the KKL-JNF, it was found that about 30 percent of the Jerusalem [Aleppo] pine have died in the country’s various forests,” explains Prof. Menachem Moshelion.
The attempted erasure of memories has failed. Pappe in his book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” lists a number of Parks that were built to erase Palestinian villages. [P229]. The website Palestine remembered gives details of the Land and villages acquired by the JNF. Noga Kadman describes the fate of 418 villages in her book “Erased from Space and Consciousness: Israel and the Depopulated Palestinian Villages of 1948” Effective films like Enduring roots have been produced.
A powerful exposure of the JNF’s greenwashing can be seen here.
The injustice still continues
This is not only something that happened over 70 years ago. The campaign for the truth and justice for the Palestinians is continuing.
The British Park[viii] – was built on two destroyed Palestinian villages. In 2020, Khalud al Ajarma, appeared before a British court. She had documents showing that her family and others owned the land that the JNF UK had claimed as a Park. She complained that a British Charity had stolen or received stolen land, she was told that she had no standing to complain about the charity. See the webinar here.
Bedouin in the unrecognised villages are being ethically cleansed all the time. Al Araqib has been demolished over 170 times. Um AL Hiran was a legal (but unrecognised ethnic Palestinian (with Israeli nationality) village. An illegal Orthodox Jewish village was set up in a nearby forest with the aid of the JNF UK. The Palestinian village had its legal status removed. It was demolished and will be replaced by a Jewish village.
A webinar has been organised to discuss these and other villages.
Saturday April 3rd at 4.00 pm: Register here Khalil Alamour: “The Role of the JNF in the Ethnic Cleansing of the Naqab”
[i] “it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both [Arab and Jewish] peoples . . . If the [Palestinian] Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us . . . The only solution [after the end of WW II] is a Land of Israel, at least a western land of Israel [i.e. Palestine since Transjordan is the eastern portion], without [Palestinian] Arabs. There is no room here for compromises . . . There is no way but to transfer the [Palestinian] Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Palestinian Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [Bedouin] tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan [eastern portion of Eretz Yisrael]. For this goal funds will be found . . . An only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution.” (Benny Morris, p. 27 & Expulsion Of The Palestinians, 131-132)
[ii] Weitz “All we need is 400 tractors, each tractor can cultivate 3,000 dunam – cultivating not just for the purpose of procuring food but in order to prevent anyone from returning to their lands.”Pappe the Ethnic cleansing of Palestine P213
[iii] Weitz “We have begun the operation of cleansing, removing the rubble and preparing the villages for cultivation and settlement. Some of these will become parks.” Pappe P221