KKL-JNF’s board may buy Palestinian land to accelerate settler building

Should the plan pass the board, it would be the first decision to specifically focus on a wide-ranging strategy to strengthen Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.

A general view picture shows a section of Itamar, a Jewish settlement, in the foreground as Nablus is seen in the background, in the West Bank June 15, 2020. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
A general view picture shows a section of Itamar, a Jewish settlement, in the foreground as Nablus is seen in the background, in the West Bank June 15, 2020.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund’s (KKL-JNF) board is scheduled Sunday to debate a new plan to purchase private Palestinian land in Area C of the West Bank to help accelerate settler building there.
The focus, according to a memo to the board, will be on land that is within the boundaries of existing settlements and or adjacent to those communities and which can be developed for construction.
KKL-JNF has purchased property on behalf of Jews since 1901, prior to the creation of the state of Israel, including land that is now part of the West Bank.
But should the plan pass the board, it would be the first decision to specifically focus on a wide-ranging strategy to strengthen Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.
The Jerusalem Post has seen a copy of the memo, which was first reported on by Walla. It clarifies that land will not be purchased within an IDF firing zone or within a nature reserve.
Land status of the property must allow for it to be registered under new ownership with the Civil Administration.
The Left-wing NGO Peace Now said: “The Israeli Jewish National Fund has long had a dark side in discreetly facilitating settlement expansion. This latest news on it intending to purchase private Palestinian land is a decision to bring it into the open.”
The Meretz Party charged that the purchasing plan was an attempt by the Israeli Right to create de facto annexation of settlements.
Dror Morag, who is a World Zionist Organization board member on behalf of Meretz said: “Our representative on the JNF board will oppose this despicable proposal and will work to form a majority to stop the JNF’s annexation program.”
Meretz chairman MK Nitzan Horowitz charged that the JNF had been taken over by settlers who want to turn into an arm of the “occupation.” He warned that, “the move will have serious consequences for the JNF’s status among Jewish communities around the world.”
The JNF downplayed the significance of the memo, noting that the discussions on the new policy was still preliminary.
“Throughout the years and till this very day, KKL-JNF has been operating in all parts of the land of Israel, including Judea and Samaria,” it told the Post.
“The preliminary discussion, scheduled for Sunday will revolve around general principles of action, and will be based on a legal opinion that was requested and received during the previous management term,” it said.
It noted in particular that donor consent would be obtained for all funds used to purchase land.
“KKL-JNF’s policy remains that every contribution for every project in Israel is confirmed by and coordinated in advance with its donor, in accordance with the laws of the donor’s country,” the JNF stated.

Editor's note: KKL-JNF is a separate entity from the American-based Jewish National Fund-USA.