An organization called the Jewish National Fund of Canada (JNF Canada) bears responsibility for taking control over lands beyond Israel’s internationally recognized border, otherwise known as the “Green Line” or the 1949 armistice border. Through establishing parks and forests in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), JNF Canada is changing the physical character of the OPT in violation of international law . Due to JNF Canada’s registered charity status, it is able to issue tax receipts for donations made to its projects. Canadian taxpayers therefore subsidize its projects.
JNF Canada has sponsored parks and forests that straddle the Green Line, incorporating lands on the Palestinian side of the Green Line into Israel’s full control. The dense trees and other features of these projects create facts on the ground – physical placeholders of sorts – that would give Israel an excuse to build its Separation Barrier further into the OPT, which Israel has done. These projects make land they are built on in the OPT appear to be part of Israel, as they are accessible to people in Israel, but not to Palestinians in the OPT, who are unable to access these lands. The trees and other features to these projects – which in some cases conceal the ruins of depopulated and demolished Palestinian villages  – and the Barrier nearby, prevent Palestinians from accessing their lands. The lands, for all practical purposes, become part of Israel.
The existence of the Barrier has meant the de facto annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel on the Palestinian-side of the Green Line, and may lead to their de jure annexation in the future . Israel has proposed that the Barrier, the route of which it determined unilaterally, serve as its final borders . The Barrier has been ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in a 2004 Advisory Opinion , and Canadian public policy has deemed the Barrier illegal, with Canada outright opposing the path of its construction . JNF Canada’s projects that straddle the Green Line and verge into the OPT, and which are abutted by the Barrier, appear to function as a means for Israel to appropriate lands and resources from Palestinians in the OPT.
The key projects that are located at least partially beyond the Green Line in the OPT that JNF Canada has sponsored are: Canada Park, Begin Park, Yatir Forest, and Gilo Forest and Park. Through taking control of lands in the OPT, these projects entrench Israel’s fifty-year-long military occupation, making a just peace much more difficult to achieve. No Canadian organization, let alone one with charitable status, should be sponsoring projects that create facts on the ground in favour of an Occupying power, and which – in violation of international law – change the physical character of the OPT.
We therefore call on the Government of Canada to:
- Publicly condemn JNF Canada’s role in entrenching Israel’s fifty-year-long military occupation;
- Ensure that Canadian taxpayers are no longer subsidizing these activities, which are making Canada complicit in violations of international law.
Signed by the following:
Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Palestinian Canadian Congress
Canadian Arab Federation
New Democratic Youth of Canada
Jeunes néodémocrates du Québec
Le Conseil régional FTQ Montréal métropolitain
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Manon Massé, Treasurer, Québec Solidaire
Peyton Veitch, Treasurer & Anne Marie Roy, Deputy Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students
Canadian Friends of Sabeel
Christian Peacemaker Teams Canada
London Conference of the United Church of Canada
Justice, Global Relations & Witness Committee – Manitoba & Northwestern Ontario Conference of the United Church of Canada
For more information about the projects listed in this statement, click here.
 http://bit.ly/2oinhOu; http://bit.ly/2oFWGh3
 http://www.international.gc.ca/name-anmo/peace_process-processus_paix/canadian_policy- politique_canadienne.aspx?lang=eng