Al-Araqib and the Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund describes itself as a “charitable organization specializing in development of Israeli land and infrastructure, especially planting trees.” But despite its claims toward environmentalism, the organization has been implicated in the repeated destruction of Palestinian land. According to a new report by Adalah—the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel—the Israeli government has destroyed the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqib fifty times to make way for two JNF forests. As Al Jazeera reports, hundreds of Israeli police and soldiers work with the JNF and ILA (Israel Land Administration), surrounding the property so that Bedouin Palestinians cannot defend it from destruction.
While the JNF is sometimes directly responsible for the razing of Palestinian homes, it has also collaborated with the Israeli government. Both groups work to promote what journalists call “Brand Israel,” the use of progressive politics—especially eco-friendliness—to distract from human rights abuses.
The hypocrisy of this claim is hard to miss. Though JNF has indeed created new forests, its partner in crime (the Israeli Defense Force) has uprooted thousands of olive trees, and stood by as Jewish settlers have done the same. Israel’s masquerade as an eco-conscious country seems, on balance, patently false.
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