Musheir Al Farra, chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Sheffield, tells us what is really going on .
“This behaviour, also known as greenwashing, refers to the tools a given firm [or organisation] may use to deliberately send a message that its products, services and processes are environmentally friendly when in fact they are not.” Berrone Pascale, Green Lies
The picture is of a JNF tractor used in demolishing Al Araqib.
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has had a place at previous Cop Conferences, we aim to stop it attending Cop26.
The JNF reputation as an environmental responsible body rests on its creation of parks, its planting of trees and its creation of reservoirs.
The Parks – Cover the ethnic cleansing – prevent a Palestinian return
The Jewish National Fund was set up in 1901 to obtain land in Palestine for the exclusive use of Jews.
Yossef Weitz was was the powerful director of the Jewish National Fund’s Land Settlement Department between 1932 and 1948. He made three things clear. The Zionists must ethnically cleanse the Palestinians.[i] The Palestinians must be prevented from returning[ii] and that after the destruction of the Palestinian villages Jewish settlements or parks would be put in their place.[iii]The Jewish National Fund’s park building enabled Israel to say to Palestinian refugees and the world that the land is being used.
The British Park[viii] – was built on two destroyed Palestinian villages. In 2020, Khalud al Ajarma, appeared before a British court. She had documents showing that her family and others owned the land that the JNF UK had claimed as a Park. She complained that a British Charity had stolen or received stolen land, she was told that she had no standing to complain about the charity. See the webinar here.
JNF official Michael Katorza stated “a large portion of JNF parks are on lands where Palestinian villages used to stand, and the forests are intended to camouflage this.”
This is a picture taken in 2010 inside Canada Park which covers the destroyed village of Imwas and two others.
The Trees – cover the ruins – replace Olives and nuts
The Jewish Journal informs us “In a land where even trees have become politicized as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the pine tree has become emblematic of a renewed Jewish presence here, while the olive tree has become a symbol of the Palestinians’ ties to the land.”
The truth is that the Olive tree is better suited than the Pines that were planted. In 2020 “In an extensive survey conducted by the KKL-JNF, it was found that about 30 percent of the Jerusalem [Aleppo] pine have died in the country’s various forests,” explains Prof. Menachem Moshelion.
When Israel won the 1967 war, it took over all of Palestine’s water infrastructure. It destroyed Palestinian pipelines, wells, cisterns at will. While Palestinian water infrastructure is being weakened Israel sunk wells and built reservoirs and denies Palestinian access to the river Jordan.
These are two massive JNF sponsored reservoirs that feed water to the illegal Zionist settlements.
The result of the water Apartheid is that Palestinians consume less than the WHO recommended minimum.
A powerful exposure of the JNF’s greenwashing can be seen here.
Sign the petition opposing JNF at COP 26 here.
[i] “it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both [Arab and Jewish] peoples . . . If the [Palestinian] Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us . . . The only solution [after the end of WW II] is a Land of Israel, at least a western land of Israel [i.e. Palestine since Transjordan is the eastern portion], without [Palestinian] Arabs. There is no room here for compromises . . . There is no way but to transfer the [Palestinian] Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Palestinian Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [Bedouin] tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan [eastern portion of Eretz Yisrael]. For this goal funds will be found . . . An only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution.” (Benny Morris, p. 27 & Expulsion Of The Palestinians, 131-132)
[ii] Weitz “All we need is 400 tractors, each tractor can cultivate 3,000 dunam – cultivating not just for the purpose of procuring food but in order to prevent anyone from returning to their lands.”Pappe the Ethnic cleansing of Palestine P213
[iii] Weitz “We have begun the operation of cleansing, removing the rubble and preparing the villages for cultivation and settlement. Some of these will become parks.” Pappe P221
A short tribute by Val is here
Arwa lived in Sheffield for a good number of years, perhaps seven or eight and made very many friends both within the Arabic community and within the Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Like many Palestinian women Arwa was passionate about women’s education and was part of the planning group of Sheffield Palestinian Women’s Scholarship Fund for years. During this time she spoke at International Women’s Day events for Palestine in various northern towns such as Bradford, Saddleworh and Durham/Newcastle.
Her family lived in Tel Rumeida in Hebron where religious settlers make some of the most vicious attacks in the West Bank. The family’s traditional orchards containing almonds and other fruits were taken over by the settlers. At one point some soldiers took over the top floor of her family home because of its strategic position while they were living there. She sustained an injured leg after being badly beaten by a soldier which continued to give her pain and interfered with her ability to walk for the rest of her life. She once defended the family’s centuries old olive tree by sitting under it in the blazing sun for a full day to stop a bulldozer from destroying one of their most treasured possessions.
She worked with many children’s groups which were set up in Tel Rumeida which to support the traumatised children who could be woken in the middle of the night by the military who would then ransack the family possessions, take away – sometimes fathers often brothers, for interrogation which could last for many months without any formal charges and no family contact.
With this background Arwa could sometimes be feisty and verbally fight her corner She was also very caring and supportive. Although she returned to live in Palestine a few years ago she returned regularly to Sheffield to visit her friends. We will miss her. Tribute by Val
Sheffield PSC supported March 4th day of action against JCB. A report is here
REPORT ON JCB NSPCC DAY OF ACTION
This day reflected a brilliant national, collective response to JCB and to the NSPCC, a charity which chooses to accept that firm’s money, despite full knowledge of the company’s tarnished reputation. In a nutshell, JCB is:
· named by the UN as complicit in Israel’s war crimes.
· being investigated following Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights complaint for failures to observe OECD guidelines on human rights.
SO, WHAT HAPPENED ON 4TH MARCH?
This was the first day of a national conference organized by the NSPCC. In the advert, NSPCC asserts ‘Every Child has the Right to Grow up Safely’, and the campaign response was ‘How Safe are Palestinian Children?’ Our demand was that NSPCC stop taking money from JCB; the values of the company are totally at variance with the stated values of the charity.
The campaign coalition comprises: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD UK), Social Work Action Network (SWAN), UK Palestine Mental Health Network, PSC England and Wales, Scottish PSC, the Shoal Collective, Boycott Israel Network (BIN), Protecting Palestinian Families.
· Each of the 50 speakers and facilitators of the Conference received two letters, one from the broad coalition, one from the Director of PSC, informing them of concerns about NSPCC’s acceptance of JCB’s defences of itself and the charity’s continued partnership with the firm.
· 9,337 letters were sent, facilitated by PSC, from 3000+ participating supporters. These went to 3 key members of the NSPCC’ s decision making body: CEO, Peter Wanless; Chair of Trustees, Neil Berkett and Head of Fundraising, Josephine Swinhoe.
· Many individualized letters were sent to the NSPCC by members of the coalition groups, but also by concerned non-aligned people, friends and colleagues who were shocked at the link between JCB and NSPCC.
· A Twitter storm saw huge numbers of posts being made, using the conference hashtag (#HowSafe2021) and the campaign hashtag (#HowSafeArePalestinianChildren) and copying @NSPCC and @JCBmachines
CAMPAIGN PROMOTION WEBINARS: The campaign has been widely promoted, airing the issues effectively.
· ICAHD UK has hosted 3 webinars:
- Not Every Child Matters: Challenging the NSPCC – 21 Feb 2021 – Watch here
- Resisting Demolitions from Outside Palestine – Part 1 – 26 Sept 2020 – Watch here
- Resisting Demolitions from Outside Palestine – Part 2 – 11 Nov 2020 – Watch here
· Scottish PSC has hosted 2 webinars:
o Interview with Guy Shennan and Annie O’Gara, of the campaign coalition
o Interview with Linda Ramsden of ICAHD UK and the campaign coalition
RECENT PUBLICATIONS: Important articles from social work and mental health professionals have been published in journals and sites with a wide reach in the profession.
· On the day the NSPCC conference opened, the Professional Social Work Magazine published a letter, see below, entitled “By Accepting JCB money, NSPCC is Complicit in Bulldozing Homes”, signed by 29 social workers, all members of BASW (British Association of Social Workers).
· Also, a background article by Simon Cardy on the whole campaign and its ethical basis was published on the SWAN (Social Work Action Network) site.
· Earlier, Martin Kemp, of UK Palestine Mental Health Network (UKPalMHN) had this article published in Middle East Monitor; his piece was entitled “Clearly, Not Every Child is Worth Fighting for: racism, conscience and the NSPCC.”
ANTHEM FOR THE DAY: A song was specially composed, performed and recorded for the day. It has been widely broadcast – an unexpected and welcome creative gift.
· The George Cowley Experience song can be heard here, is available on YouTube, so can be shared. Peter Unwin composed it: Peter is a lecturer in Social Work and one of the signatories to the BASW letter mentioned earlier.
CITY AND DEALERSHIP ACTIONS: We live in strange, Covid-enforced days of isolation, but individuals and pairs of people still managed to produce powerful demonstrations against JCB. These have been shared on Twitter and of Facebook.
· BRIGHTON posted picturesof a number of actions, adding to Twitter’s impact.
o City centre actions
o Actions near JCB sites
· SHEFFIELD and STOKE ON TRENT ACTIVISTS targeted dealerships:
o the World Logistics centre of JCB Engines near Stoke on. The protest focussed on the devastating impact of home demolitions on children and the callous disregard by the Bamford family (owners and Directors of JCB) for the wellbeing of Palestinian children.
o A simultaneous protest was held in Sheffield at the main dealership for JCB in the north of England, TC Harrison JCB. Banners read: “Anthony Bamford: working with Israel to demolish Palestinian homes” and “Anthony and Carole Bamford: Why don’t you care about Palestinian children?
o Information sheets providing more information about the complicity of JCB and the hypocrisy of the NSPCC were hung in the two bus stops used by the JCB workforce, informing them of their employers’ complicity with Israel in war crimes.
JCB are clearly alert to the campaign. At one of the dealership sites, it was reported in Sheffield that JCB blockaded its own entrance and called the police (see photo below), despite there being only two people there, one of whom had made it clear no mass protest was planned and no disruption envisaged. In its statements to the NSPCC, JCB has claimed that the LPHR complaint has been dismissed (it hasn’t) and also asserted that they have asked the UN to remove them from the list of complicit companies (UN hasn’t budged). These over-reactions at the dealerships and threadbare excuses reveal a company rattled by the campaign.
All Palestinians know that Israel is an apartheid regime. 2021 opened with a reaffirmation of the apartheid nature of the state given by its own leading human rights organisation, B’Tselem. This organisation is following in the footsteps of the definitive report on Israeli apartheid by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley. The JNF remains an agent of the state of Israel, “100% Israel” in its own words, implementing and advancing Israel’s apartheid agenda to the detriment of the Palestinian people. Our campaign against the JNF continues unabated. Undeterred by the pandemic, our new webinar series offers further opportunities to find out more from international experts about the workings of the JNF and to join with us in our campaign to Stop the JNF.
Guest speakers so far have included Salman Abu Sitta and Uri Davis and in the coming months Michael Fischbach, Richard Falk, Khalil Alamour and Ilan Pappé will be speaking. (Note: events that have already taken place are removed from the listing)
Saturday March 6th at 4.00pm Register here
Michael Fischbach: “Palestinian Refugee Property: Restitution and Claims for Compensation.” Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land has been continuous since 1948 and is now widely acknowledged. Pre-1948, around 90 per cent of Palestine was under Palestinian ownership, today that figure is 3 per cent and shrinking. It is however only part of the wholesale plunder on which Israel has been built. In the early years of the Israeli state, more wealth was transferred to it in the form of Palestinian assets than in foreign aid.
The right of return and compensation for the suffering and loss of property and livelihood remain central to realising a measure of justice for the Palestinian people. Michael Fischbach, a professor of history and author of The Peace Process and the Palestinian Refugee Claims, Addressing Claims for Property Compensation and Restitution, will discuss his research on the history of attempts to address this issue.
Saturday March 20th at 3.00 pm. Our contribution to Israeli Apartheid Week Register here
Richard Falk: “Israeli Apartheid.” Richard
Falk’s and Virginia Tilley’s 2017 report for a major UN body aroused the fury
of the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and UN Secretary General Gutteres
moved quickly to suppress the report.
Now even a major Israeli human rights group has bowed to the inevitable, the glaringly obvious, and concluded that Israel is a Jewish supremacist state from the river to the sea.
Saturday April 3rd at 4.00 pm: Register here
Khalil Alamour: “The Role of the JNF in the Ethnic Cleansing of the Naqab”
Khalil Alamour is a Bedouin Palestinian who lives in Israel. His village is al-Sira, one of the many Bedouin villages in the Naqab which Israel refuses to recognise, depriving people of services. Khalil has called what’s happening there “another Nakba,” as Bedouins are ethnically cleansed to make way for the state’s Judaization plans. JNF UK is a key player in these plans, investing heavily in the region and even describing the Naqab as a politically uncomplicated area, clearly indifferent to the Bedouin whose homes and lives are being destroyed.
Khalil is an attorney, a mathematician and community leader. He also is a member of the Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages and part of the Negev/Naqab Co-existence Forum for Civil Equality. With colleagues, he works to provide welfare projects, which in other societies are the responsibility of the state. He has spoken up for his community at the UN and EU.
Saturday May 8th at 4.00pm Register here
Ilan Pappé: ” The role of the JNF in the Palestinian Nakba” The Nakba is not an isolated historic event, but an ongoing process. Ilan Pappe will describe the crucial role of the JNF and its leaders in developing the ideology and strategy of ethnic cleansing leading up to 1948. He will also illustrate some of the ways in which the JNF is implicated in the military operations for the expulsion of the Palestinians from their lands and how the JNF thwarted the Palestinian Right of Return.