Palestinian environmental networks and professional unions call on MedPine to relocate its conference outside of Israel and urgeÂ invited speakers to refuse to lend their scholarship to KKL-JNFâ€™s greenwashing of Israelâ€™s violations of Palestinian human rights.
We are writing from Palestinian environmental organizations and academic and professional unions to urge you to move the plannedÂ MedPine 6Â conference at Hebrew University outside of Israel.
The conference organizer, Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (KKL-JNF), is deeply complicit in Israelâ€™s 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 â€śfor the purpose of settling Jews on such landâ€ť, excluding the indigenous Palestinians.
Human Rights Watch notes that most of KKL-JNFâ€™s land holdings are theÂ resultÂ of Israelâ€™s 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 toÂ evictÂ Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem and toÂ demolishÂ 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 wereÂ establishedÂ 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 UNÂ Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural RightsÂ condemned Israelâ€™s â€ślarge-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian landâ€ť and its transfer to agencies like KKL-JNF as â€śan institutionalized form of discrimination,â€ť considering that KKL-JNF would â€śdeny the use of these properties to non-Jews.â€ť
The UN Committee on Non-Governmental OrganizationsÂ rejectedÂ KKL-JNF USAâ€™s application for consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council over KKL-JNFâ€™s involvement in Israelâ€™sÂ illegalÂ settlementsÂ built on stolen Palestinian land and its violations of the principles of equality.
Former British Prime Minister David CameronÂ terminatedÂ his status as an Honorary Patron of the KKL-JNF following growing public scrutiny of the organization.
KKL-JNFâ€™s main partner for the conference isÂ Hebrew University of JerusalemÂ (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 Israelâ€™s 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, HUJIâ€™s Advanced School for Environmental StudiesÂ hostedÂ 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 settlementsÂ dumpÂ 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 dumpÂ toxic wasteÂ 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-JNFâ€™s greenwashing of Israelâ€™s 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) –Â Coordinating body of 16 Palestinian environmental NGOs
Palestinian NGOs network (PNGO) –Â Coordinating body of 140 Palestinian NGOs
Palestinian Bar Association –Â Representing 10,300 lawyers
Palestinian Federation of University Unions of Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) –Â 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 –Â The largest Palestinian women’s coalition
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.