The Real News Network has stepped up to the plate once again. They continually blow me away with their coverage of Israel and Palestine. Their new episode Israeli Tree Campaign "Judaizes" Expropriated Land focuses on the Jewish National Fund's role, past and present, in Judaizing the region.
From the founding of the JNF at the 5th Zionist Congress in 1901, for the purpose of purchasing land for Jewish settlement in Palestine culminating in the purchase of only 6% of the land by 1948, thru the evolvement of this organization in the expropriation of land belonging to Palestinians exclusively for Jewish use (still going on today), Real News has produced an excellent JNF 101, a short 12 minute episode worth volumes.
They start off in the Bedouin village of Al Araqib in the Negev desert interviewing Aziz Sayah Al-Turi, son of Al-Araqib's Shiekh Al-Turi, as he motions his arm over a desolate barren landscape marked by only the cruel tracks of JNF bulldozers. Where once his family's 4500 olive and carob trees grew and his house once stood near the homes of other villagers, now nothing. Aziz Sayah Al-Turi explains:
"If we were the Jews, the government would have honored us for making the desert bloom. But we are Arabs, what can we do?"
Interviewing Tel Aviv University history professor Gadi Algazi as he briefly explains how the 1949 Absentee Property Law, in regulating the possession of the Palestinian refugees, facilitated the JNF acquiring the land from 'custodians':
'Ben Gurion circumvented any future action by simply selling, absolutely illegally, selling the land entrusted to the custodians to some third party so that the State of Israel, in case of an international debate, can safely say 'sorry' like any bicycle thief,...'it's not in my hand anymore'..within a few days a million dunam was sold to the JNF. It took about 8 days to realize one of the biggest business deals in the history of Israel...and the JNF never even paid for most of this land.'
From JNF boxes to the recent resignation of board member Seth Morrison, current evictions in Silwan and EJ, to Israel's supreme court forcing the JNF, through the efforts of Zochrot to post the history of ethnically cleansed villages of Beit Nuba, Yalu and Imwas where Canada Park now stands, this video is a must see.