JNF debates enable Palestinian land to be bought on West Bank

The Jewish National Fund on Sunday held a debate on the possibility of buying Palestinian land in the West Bank for settlement expansion purposes.

The debate was seen as a major policy change for the centennial group, although the character was rejected by the JNF, which kept it working for a long time in the West Bank.

“Over the years and to this day, KKL-JNF has worked in all parts of Israel, including Judea and Samaria. [the biblical name for the West Bank]. The first debate, which took place today, was based on common principles of action, based on a legal opinion requested and received during the previous term of government, ”he said.

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“At this stage, it is not planned to open a new area in Judea and Samaria. Nevertheless, KKL-JNF’s policy remains that all grants for all projects in Israel will be confirmed and coordinated in advance by its donor, in accordance with country laws the donor, ”he said.

Further discussions on the issue will take place before the board of directors votes, he said.

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) was considering buying Palestinian private land in area C of the West Bank, which could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, for the settlements already developed, Walla ‘news site reported Thursday, citing Hebrew. draft of a resolution he received.

West Bank Jewish Settlement of Ma’ale Efraim in Jordan Valley, June 30, 2020. (AP / Balilty photo, file)

The group will not build new settlements, but work in existing ones with education, environment and other projects, the report said. Land purchases will only be made within or adjacent to the jurisdiction of settlements.

The proposal cited a previous memorandum that said KKL could operate in all areas under Israeli control, including the West Bank.

To date KKL (a separate agency from JNF-USA) has not officially worked in the West Bank, and has been working through other organizations there on some limited projects, said the report, which was also conducted in English on the Axios news site.

The group’s new global chairman, Avraham Duvdevani, took over in the fall of 2020 and is working to change the policy. Duvdevani is part of the growing influence on Zionist groups like KKL. The move came in response to a push from pro-settlement lobbyists and the group tried to keep it low, the report said.

Foreign donations will only be used to fund such activity if the legal affairs are in the donor country, the report said.

KKL’s expansion of activities into the West Bank could further complicate Israel’s ties with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, which is expected to restore America’s traditional stance against settlements . It could also affect the Jewish state’s ties with the rest of the international community, which sees the settlements as illegal.

Asked about the report at a preparatory meeting on Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “It is critical to avoid unilateral measures that exacerbate tensions and derail efforts to achieve a two-state solution . This includes additions, settlement, demolition, incentives and terrorist payments. “

KKL, founded in 1901 to buy and develop land for Jewish settlement and best known for the hundreds of millions of trees he planted throughout Israel, serves as the custodian of the Jewish people for about 15 percent of the land in the country, and their management is done by the Israel Land Authority.

A type of NGO officially registered as a public benefit company, KKL operates in the fields of forestry, water, education, community development, tourism, and research and development. Its parent body is the World Zionist Group.

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