Daily Israel Report

JNF Donates 3,000 Trees to Palestinian Authority

The JNF, an icon to Diaspora Jews who donate to Israel, has given the PA 3,000 trees. “The system has gone haywire,” says a JNF board member.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/30/2009, 9:16 AM / Last Update: 11/30/2009, 9:28 AM

Israel news photo

A member of the board of the Jewish National Fund said “the system has gone haywire” after hearing reports that the venerable Zionist organization is donating 3,000 trees to the Palestinian Authority for a new city near Ramallah.

Maaleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel, who also is a member of the JNF board, told Arutz 7 Monday morning he will bring up the issue with the JNF, which is considered a symbol of Zionism, particularly in the Diaspora where Jews have donated billions of dollars for planting trees and building the modern Jewish State.

Kashriel said the contribution to the PA is a grave step that was taken without any request for approval and without advance notice and reflects a “system that has gone haywire.”

The mayor of Maaleh Adumim, which along with the rest of Judea and Samaria has been slapped with a freeze on new construction with the threat of arrest for breaking the ban, said, “The country has gone crazy when it plants trees for the PA in Judea and Samaria at the same time that it forbids Jews to build. The system does not know who it is representing – us, the Palestinian Authority or the Americans?”

Concerning the government’s building freeze policy, Mayor Kashriel said he is “ashamed” of the government’s move, which he said are more drastic than those taken during the years of negotiations under the Oslo Accords that blew up into the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, nine years ago.

“As chairman of the local Likud faction, I am ashamed seven times over,” he said. “Even during Oslo we did not receive letters that remove our authority and turn us into criminals.” He also echoed sentiments of other leaders in Judea and Samaria to continue building despite the orders to halt new construction.

Kashriel said regional leaders will appeal to the High Court to overturn the building freeze, which he said violates the rights of residents of Judea and Samaria. He also has proposed that regional leaders stage a strike opposite the offices of Prime Minister Netanyahu.