Earlier this week, police informed the Bedouin residents of Al-Arakib that the Jewish National Fund in Israel (KKL-JNF) plans to commence planting on land under legal dispute in their village.
Residents of Al-Arakib, located just a few miles northeast of Be’er Sheva, have documents and other evidence of their traditional rights to their land dating to the times of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, prior to the establishment of the state of Israel. Yet the Israeli government refuses to recognize their land claims. The State has demolished the village dozens of times in the last year and a half, leveling homes, livestock pens, and hundreds of fruit and olive trees, all to make way for Jewish National Fund forests. The government remains embroiled in protracted legal disputes with the residents about their ownership of the land.
Earlier this year, the leadership of KKL-JNF promised our colleagues at Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel that they would not plant on four plots of land in Al-Arakib that are involved in ongoing legal disputes. KKL-JNF also issued a public statement saying that it "does not plant even a single tree on land that is in legal dispute in court." But now it seems as though KKL-JNF is changing its tune.
This past Sunday, KKL-JNF equipment arrived in Al-Arakib and began preparing one of the disputed plots of land for planting. The KKL-JNF has spent the last three weeks working on other plots of land in Al-Arakib that are due to be adjudicated in Israel's High Court in December 2012.
Take action now!
Write today to Efi Stenzler, JNF’s World Chairman, and Russell Robinson, CEO of JNF-USA, to ask them to stop planting on legally disputed land in Al-Arakib and to end the Jewish National Fund’s involvement in forestation on the remains of demolished Bedouin villages and disputed Bedouin land.
Take action now before the Jewish National Fund erases the village of Al-Arakib for good.
Director of Israel Programs