Palestinian environmental networks and professional unions call on MedPine to relocate its conference outside of Israel and urge¬†invited speakers to refuse to lend their scholarship to KKL-JNF‚Äôs greenwashing of Israel‚Äôs violations of Palestinian human rights.
We are writing from Palestinian environmental organizations and academic and professional unions to urge you to move the planned¬†MedPine 6¬†conference at Hebrew University outside of Israel.
The conference organizer, Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (KKL-JNF), is deeply complicit in Israel‚Äôs violations of Palestinian human rights. While presenting itself as an environmental organization, in reality KKL-JNF is a discriminatory organization founded in 1901 with the stated goal of acquiring land and property in Palestine ‚Äúfor the purpose of settling Jews on such land‚ÄĚ, excluding the indigenous Palestinians.
Human Rights Watch notes that most of KKL-JNF‚Äôs land holdings are the¬†result¬†of Israel‚Äôs illegal seizure of Palestinian owned land following the expulsion of approximately 800,000 indigenous Palestinians during the establishment of Israel on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland in 1948.
KKL-JNF continues to play an active role in the dispossession of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, within present day Israel and those living in forced exile.
KKL-JNF has worked to¬†evict¬†Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem and to¬†demolish¬†Palestinian Bedouin villages in present day Israel in order to replace them with Jewish only settlements. More than two-thirds of KKL-JNF forests and parks were¬†established¬†over the ruins of Palestinian towns and villages destroyed by pre-state militias and later the Israeli military in an attempt to erase Palestinian history.
In 1998, the UN¬†Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights¬†condemned Israel‚Äôs ‚Äúlarge-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land‚ÄĚ and its transfer to agencies like KKL-JNF as ‚Äúan institutionalized form of discrimination,‚ÄĚ considering that KKL-JNF would ‚Äúdeny the use of these properties to non-Jews.‚ÄĚ
The UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations¬†rejected¬†KKL-JNF USA‚Äôs application for consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council over KKL-JNF‚Äôs involvement in Israel‚Äôs¬†illegal¬†settlements¬†built on stolen Palestinian land and its violations of the principles of equality.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron¬†terminated¬†his status as an Honorary Patron of the KKL-JNF following growing public scrutiny of the organization.
KKL-JNF‚Äôs main partner for the conference is¬†Hebrew University of Jerusalem¬†(HUJI), whose Mount Scopus campus sits on Palestinian territory and, in part, on illegally seized private Palestinian property in occupied East Jerusalem. It is therefore part of Israel‚Äôs illegal settlement project, providing housing and employment for nationals of the occupying power in occupied territory, in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Last April, HUJI‚Äôs Advanced School for Environmental Studies¬†hosted¬†a conference featuring institutions based in illegal Israeli settlements. Among the organizers were the Kfar Etzion Field School from the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion and the Jordan Valley Research and Development Center, part of Ariel University located in the illegal settlement of the same name.
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and rob Palestinians of their land and water. Settlements and their infrastructure separate Palestinian villages from each other and restrict Palestinian freedom of movement. They also have detrimental health effects on Palestinians, their crops and livestock. Illegal Israeli settlements¬†dump¬†19 million cubic meters of wastewater in streams in the occupied West Bank each year. A massive Israeli landfill in the occupied West Bank is a constant source of fires from the large concentration of methane. Settlement industrial zones dump¬†toxic waste¬†near Palestinian communities.
We urge the MedPine International Scientific Board to relocate its 6th international conference outside of Israel until such time as Israel respects Palestinian rights as stipulated under international law.
We call on all invited speakers to refuse to lend their research and scholarship to KKL-JNF‚Äôs greenwashing of Israel‚Äôs violations of Palestinian human rights and to cancel your participation in the MedPine conference if hosted in Israel.
As Palestinian environmental, academic and professional organizations, we urge you to stand with us in our struggle to create a more just world, making the link between environmental and social justice.
Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network- Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON-FoE Palestine) –¬†Coordinating body of 16 Palestinian environmental NGOs
Palestinian NGOs network (PNGO) –¬†Coordinating body of 140 Palestinian NGOs
Palestinian Bar Association –¬†Representing 10,300 lawyers
Palestinian Federation of University Unions of Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) –¬†Representing more than 6,000 Palestinian university staff at 13 institutions of higher education in the occupied Palestinian territory
General Union of Palestinian Peasants
Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign
Land Defense Coalition
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall)
General Union of Palestinian Women –¬†The largest Palestinian women’s coalition
Human Interest 09/18/18:¬†Ahed Tamimi Travels to France Despite Israeli Travel Ban