Two Demonstrations against Racist Land Policies

On Friday, April 26th, over 100 Palestinians from Beit Hanina and other parts of East Jerusalem, along with Israeli and international activists, held a demonstration in front of the house which formerly belonged to the Natche family, who were evicted last week by the Israeli police at the bidding of extremist settler leader, Aryeh King. The house is now occupied by a number of King’s extremist Jewish settlers who based their claim, in part, off of legal documents from pre-1948. The legal details of the court are, in my mind, basically irrelevant, in that the very basis for the process is illegitimate: Unless Palestinians who have pre-1948 documents proving ownership of properties in, say, Ein Karem in West Jerusalem are able to take Jewish Israelis to court and to evict them from their houses, a law that allows Jewish Israelis to “take back” Palestinian properties in the middle of Palestinian neighborhoods, and to move in with guns, a fence, and police protection, is an explicitly racist and thus illegitimate law. As Martin Luther King quoted St. Augustine, in his letter from a Birmingham jail

An unjust law is no law at all

The demonstration, which called for the Natche family to be returned to their home and for Israel to cease its policies of eviction and settlement inEast Jerusalem, was broken up forcefully by Israeli police, who arrested one Israeli protestor on site. Later, according to Palestinian sources, the Israeli police returned later and detained a number of Palestinian youth, who they claimed “disturbed the peace” during the demonstration on Friday. The youth have since been released

Jewish settler: This land belongs to us

Jewish activist: This land doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to God

 On Sunday, April 28th, scores of Bedouins from the “unrecognized village” of Al-Arakib, along with Jewish Israeli supporters and organizations including Tarabut, Rabbis for Human Rights, the Negev Coexistence Forum and more, demonstrated outside of the JNF-KKL offices in downtown Jerusalem. This protest was, in general, against the JNF-KKL’s policy of destruction and dispossession of Bedouin families, and even entire villages, throughout the Negev, and specifically against the JNF-KKL’s recent actions in Al-Arakib, where, despite JNF promises to wait until the “issue had been resolved in court,” the JNF-KKL’s bulldozers recently resumed demolition work on land belonging to the Abu-Frikh family in Al-Arakib

There is no such thing as an “unrecognized village.” That is regime-lie

Despite the difference in location and in style of protest, the thread that united both of them was a joint Arab-Jewish call against racist Israeli housing and land policies, and the actions of dispossession and eviction carried out by various organizations, whether they be the explicitly racist settler organizations like Aryeh King’s Israel Land Fund, or organizations like the JNF that present a more “pleasant face” of tree planting, even as they are destroying villages in order to plant more trees

"The JNF is planting settlements, not trees."