An initiative of Stop the JNF (Britain), Middle East Children’s Alliance (USA) and Stop the Wall (Palestine), Plant a Tree was re-launched after lockdown as a campaign that encourages international supporters, both individuals and organisations, to donate funds to enable Palestinian farmers to buy and plant trees in the occupied West Bank.
There are many projects encouraging tree planting in Palestine – so why is Stop the JNF involved in another?
Tree planting in Palestine is political. In the hands of the Palestinians it is an act of resistance to the occupation of the West Bank and the settler colonisation of Palestine. Trees, whether vines, olives, almonds or any other indigenous woody perennials that are cultivated for their produce, enable Palestinians to have a permanent occupation of their land in defiance of the Zionist colonisers’ acts of eviction and ethnic cleansing. That is why trees are targeted by settlers and subject to vandalism – uprooted, burned, poisoned and damaged as part of the persecution of Palestinians. And Palestinians re-plant, cultivate and reclaim their land as resistance. Plant a Tree helps support this material form of Palestinian resistance.
Tree planting in Palestine is also political when carried out by the Jewish National Fund.
Throughout its history, the JNF has planted trees in Palestine as part of its project of ethnic cleansing, to erect barriers, ‘Judaise’ the landscape, displace Palestinian communities, prevent refugees returning, erase depopulated villages and generally greenwash the crimes of colonisation. These trees have often been alien species and ecologically damaging. Moreover, the JNF has used tree planting as a propaganda tool to promote Zionist ideology amongst international Jewish communities who are encouraged to donate to the colonial enterprise, and through the duplicitous naming of their Parks and Forests: British Park; Coretta Scott King Forest; Canada Park; Ambassadors’ Forest.
- By supporting Palestinians planting and cultivating indigenous trees, Stop the JNF is exposing the JNF propaganda as greenwash for ethnic cleansing.
- Internationally, Plant a Tree provides the opportunity to support Palestinian resistance materially and politically.
- It is attractive to solidarity activists as well as to environmentalists, gardeners, horticulturalists and farmers.
- It provides an alternative to the JNF for concerned Jewish citizens and an opportunity for people of good will everywhere to stand in solidarity with Palestinian grassroots resistance.