The JNF and ongoing Dispossession

Locals, Palestinians, Israelis and internationals chanting during a protest against the establishment of a KKL-JNF forest on the land of the Bedouin village of al Araqib in the Negev desert. The sign reads, 'Uprooting People, Planting Trees.' March 12, 2011'

Locals, Palestinians, Israelis and internationals chant during a protest against the establishment of a Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) forest on the land of the Bedouin village of al Araqib, in the Negev desert. The sign reads: ‘Uprooting People, Planting Trees’. March 12, 2011. Photo by Oren Ziv activestills.org

 

Since 1948, the State of Israel has enacted a series of laws that have allowed it to systematically confiscate Palestinian-owned land and transfer it to the State and to Zionist institutions, including the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, and the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

Today, while non-Jewish Arab citizens constitute approximately 20% of the Israeli population, only 3-3.5% of the land in Israel is owned by them, as compared to 48% in 1948. 1

The JNF currently owns approximately 2.5 million dunams of land, or more than 600,000 acres – 12% of all public Israeli land. However the JNF’s land ownership rates in areas in high demand for residential construction is estimated to be much higher, at 30%-35%. 2

Former JNF Chief Inspector Amikam Riklin has said that the JNF’s tree planting activities are a way to claim undeveloped, former Palestinian land for future Jewish Development, and that, “the moment that development is requested, the state will just arrange to take down the trees, in full compliance with the law”. 3

The JNF has publicly stated that, “The JNF, as a landowner, 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.” 4

In 1998 the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights stated in its report that the practices of the JNF “constitute an institutionalised form of discrimination” and are in breach of Israel’s international legal obligations. 5

The JNF promotes itself as a green charity, fundraising in Jewish communities around the world to support tree planting, and other environmental initiatives in Israel. But what is the JNF really doing with your money?

JNF and Settlements in the West Bank The JNF and Bedouin Communities JNF and the Environment The JNF in Australia

Notes:

  1. Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. February 2011. Inequality Report: The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel, p.31.
  2. Bousso, N. 2013, ‘After 52 years, Jewish National Fund divorcing Israel Lands Administration.’ Haaretz, 30 June, 2013 http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.532730
  3. Braverman, I. 2009, ‘Planting the Promised Landscape: Zionism, Nature, and Resistance in Israel/Palestine’, Natural Resources Journal, vol.49, Spring.
  4. Excerpts from the Jewish National Fund’s Response to H.C. 9205/04 and H.C. 9010/04 before the Supreme Court in Jerusalem H.C. 9010/04 sitting as the High Court of Justice H.C. 9205/04 2004, December. Available at http://adalah.org/eng/publications/makan/hc9010.pdf Accessed 05/08/2014
  5. Concluding observations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Israel. 1998, CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT, UNCESR,E/C.12/1/Add.27, para.11, 4 December Available at http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/0BC7883100A95730852569AF00575179 . Accessed 05/08/2014

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