Nearly 2,500 Americans have signed a petition calling on US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to intervene to stop the Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian citizens of Al-Naqab, a region which makes up almost a half of the area of historic Palestine.
Launched by Code Pink, a women’s organization that supports Palestinian rights, the petition states that “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 petition asks Blinken to immediately halt the afforestation in the Palestinian communities. It details how the Jewish National Fund was established in 1901 for the purpose of buying and developing land for Jewish settlement in Palestine.
Code Pink noted that 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.”
The petition adds that the Israeli government has been working tirelessly to expel Palestinian Bedouin populations that are Israeli citizens from the Al-Naqab desert, south of occupied Palestine. The community of Al-Araqeeb has been demolished over 100 times since it is situated in Bedouin agricultural areas, where the JNF is currently carrying out its afforestation/ethnic cleansing program.
The petition asks Blinken to use his position as Secretary of State to pressure “Israel” and the JNF to end the afforestation project in Al-Naqab and stop displacing Palestinians from their lands and dwellings.