Greener grass over the wall: Palestine

2012-11-17 11:28

The Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev, south of Israel, was destroyed for the 39th time in October.

A Jewish National Fund (JNF) forest will be planted over the ruins of the once-thriving village.

The Bedouin of this village are among the 40 000 Naqab Bedouin that the ­Israeli government plans to resettle in townships to make space for Jews to

settle in the Negev under Project ­Blueprint, which plans to bring 250 000 Jews to the area.

Forests and recreation parks in Israel are some of the JNF’s most famous and well-cited projects.

The JNF markets ­itself as an environmental organisation and prides itself on greening the “desert”.

On deeper inspection of many of these forests and recreation parks, they have been planted to cover the ruins of Arab villages and prevent their inhabitants from returning to their homes.

Using the facade of environmentalism, the JNF collects money across the world, while in reality it has planted alien, environmentally damaging forests to ­conceal the evidence of forced removals.

During the process of dispossessing people of their land, the JNF uprooted hundreds of indigenous olive trees.

In addition to the environmental projects it undertakes, the JNF, along with the Israel Land Authority, administers 93% of all land.

This land, through the JNF’s racist policies may ­only be used or leased by Jews, ­discriminating against the non-Jewish citizens of ­Israel.

Earlier this year, a group of concerned Jews discovered that the chain of ­toy shops, Reggies, was distributing a pamphlet asking children to donate money to the JNF South Africa.

We felt it unconscionable that a toy shop, which prides itself on educating and entertaining children, supports an organisation that displaces and
dispossesses people, including children.

After an unsuccessful attempt to ­engage with Reggies, we formed the South African chapter of the global campaign, Stop the JNF.

The steering committee of Stop the JNF South Africa comprises Jewish members, while supporters for the ­campaign form a broad-based, ­nationwide movement which includes all races and religions.

Stop the JNF SA is under the umbrella of the largest ­Palestinian solidarity grouping in South Africa, the Coalition For A Free Palestine, along with other ­organisations such as the ANC, Cosatu, faith-based groups and many others.

The first action led by our group was a picket outside Reggies toy stores on November 4 nationwide, where we ­handed over memoranda demanding that Reggies end their support for the JNF and the human rights abuses it ­commits.

The protest received wide ­media coverage and our pamphlets and placards ensured many people were made aware of the injustices committed by the JNF and the support Reggies ­continues to give it.

We have not received a response to our memorandum, forcing us to intensify our action in the coming months. – Horwitz and Usdin are members of the steering committee of Stop the JNF South Africa

»Follow us on Twitter @StoptheJNFSA

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.