Partners for Progressive Israel Strongly Condemns JNF-KKL Settlement Expansion Plans

Partners for Progressive Israel strongly condemns the recent decision made by the Executive Committee of the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet L’Israel (JNF-KKL) to purchase land in the militarily-occupied West Bank, beyond Israel’s sovereign borders, in order to expand Settlement there.

Last summer, the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu declared that it had suspended plans to implement de jure annexation of territory in the Occupied West Bank. Nevertheless, active steps by his government promoting de facto annexation, such as massive Settlement expansion, have continued unabated, and this latest decision by JNF-KKL, a quasi-governmental agency, must be viewed, and responded to sharply, in that context.

To take effect, this deplorable decision will need to be ratified by JNF-KKL’s full Board of Directors following Israel’s March 23 election. Partners for Progressive Israel, working in tandem with our allies in the United States, Israel, and around the world, will do everything in our power to prevent final passage. In that context, we wish to amplify the remarks of the World Union of Meretz representative on the JNF-KKL Executive Committee, Rani Trainin, who opposed the decision and expressed the hope that international public opinion will be powerful enough to dissuade JNF-KKL from finalizing such a reckless step.

As a member organization of the American Zionist Movement and part of the World Union of Meretz bloc in the World Zionist Organization, we call upon the JNF-KKL Board of Directors to vote down this dangerous proposal, which undermines the chances for peace with Palestine through a two-state solution. Should JNF-KKL fail to do so, MK Nitzan Horowitz, chair of the Meretz party, has warned, there could be “harsh consequences for [its] standing among Diaspora Jewish communities worldwide.” We urge JNF-KKL to refrain from taking any divisive and extremist steps liable to generate such massive backlash.