The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project


Since 1948, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been planting trees to displace Palestinians from their lands. They are currently carrying out an afforestation project in the Negev/Naqab (Southern Israel) on land used by Bedouin communities for agriculture. They aim to drive the Bedouins from their lands. 

The U.S. State Department must tell the JNF to CEASE AND DESIST their ethnic cleansing activities! Sign the petition now! 

Dear Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 

We, the undersigned, write to you to ask that you publicly call on the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and state of Israel to immediately halt their afforestation activities in Southern Israel (the Negev/Naqab) on land used by Bedouin Palestinian communities for agriculture. The project’s aims and consequences are the displacement of the communities from their lands. 

The destructive actions of the JNF are nothing new. Founded in 1901, the JNF was established to buy and develop land for Jewish settlement in Palestine. In the years leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel, the JNF played a central role in the plans to expel Palestinians from their lands. They meticulously charted topography, roads, land, and water sources and profiled the entire Palestinian population by age, political affiliations, and hostility to the Zionist project. Known as the Village Files, these documents became a crucial military tool for Jewish militias, who in 1948 burned villages, carried out massacres, and drove around 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes and villages, making them refugees. 

After the war of 1948, or Nakba (catastrophe), as Palestinians refer to it, the JNF planted pine trees on the ruins of destroyed Palestinian villages to prevent Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes. From its earliest days, the JNF, registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, raised money abroad with its “Blue Box” campaign. In 2018 alone, it raised $72 million. 

After Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the JNF, through its subsidiary, Hemnutah, assisted in seizing Palestinian properties that had belonged to Jews before 1948. One example is the purchasing of properties in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan where Palestinian families were resettled after being displaced from their West Jerusalem homes in 1948. 

The JNF today owns more than 10% of the land in Israel and systematically discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20% of Israel’s population, making it extremely difficult for Palestinian citizens of Israel to gain access to state lands for residential, commercial, agricultural or other uses. 

In the Southern Israel Negev/Naqab desert, the Israeli government has been working overtime to evict Palestinian Bedouin communities who are citizens of Israel. The village of al Araqeeb has been destroyed more than 100 times because it’s located on Bedouin agricultural lands, where the JNF is now carrying out its afforestation/ethnic cleansing project.

Throughout January 2021, Palestinian Bedouins, about a third of them children, have been arrested protesting the JNF’s afforestation/ethnic cleansing project. They need your help. 

Please use your position as Secretary of State to pressure Israel and the Jewish National Fund to cease their afforestation project in the Negev/Naqab and other efforts to displace Palestinians from their homes and lands. 






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