Middle East Monitor / April 14, 2021
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) in Israel approved on Sunday plans to purchase land in the occupied West Bank to expand illegal settlements, mainly in Nablus and Jenin, Haaretz has reported. The fund is known in Hebrew as Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and still needs to obtain final approval from its board of directors at their meeting on 22 April.
According to Haaretz, JNF World Chairman Avraham Duvdevani wants the board to approve the plan so that “controversial land purchases that have already been made” can be approved retrospectively. A JNF-KKL subsidiary has spent “around $30 million” on buying occupied land since 2017.
Moreover, said the Israeli daily, “A group of progressive American Jewish organisations said it was ‘deeply troubled’ by the prospect that the JNF-KKL was moving toward making ‘Palestinian dispossession into its policy.’ The Progressive Israel Network said in a statement it was ‘hopeful that JNF-KKL’s general voting body will reject the decision to participate in settlement expansion when the decision comes to a final vote’ [on 22 April].”
After the 1967 June War, the then Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol gave the JNF written instructions to start grabbing Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. Today, the JNF, which was established in 1901 to buy and develop lands in historic Palestine to house illegal Jewish settlers, owns 13 per cent of the land in Israel exclusively for use by Jews.