Tour and public Event in the destroyed village of Bayt Nattif, south to Beit Shemesh.
During the event we walked among the ruins of Bayt Nattif and watched the disgraceful conditions of the cemetery of the village.
The event organized with the cooperation with Erik Ader from Netherland. The JNF had planted 1100 trees on honour of his father who saved Jews during the 2nd world war. When Erik found out that his father's name was used by the JNF in expelled Palestinian village he decided to make action to commemorate this vanished village.
Tour Language: Arabic and Hebrew
Zochrot`s speech at the tour:
For 68 years, the Palestinian Nakba continues. The State of Israel keeps denying and silencing it, and its institutes and most of the Jewish-Israeli public fail to recognize its far-reaching consequences. Sixty-eight years have passed since 1948, and most of the Palestinians worldwide are still refugees, victims of ongoing cleansing.
Erik Ader’s activity in favor of the internally displaced and refugees from Beit Nattif is particularly moving. It not only recognizes the Nakba and their suffering, but also promises and foreshadows many other acts of redress, until the people of Beit Nattif and all the other refugees and internally displaced persons return to their homes.
Erik Ader is the son of reverend Bastiaan Jan Ader who saved large numbers of Dutch Jews during the Holocaust, some of whom still live in Israel. Towards the end of the war, on November 20, 1944, Ader was executed by the Nazi regime. In 1967, Yad Vashem recognized him as a Righteous Among the Nations, and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) accordingly bought and planted a forest of 1100 trees and named it after him. The reverend’s wife, Johanna Adriana Ader-Appels, and his sons were invited to the forest’s inauguration ceremony. It was planted on the lands of Beit Nattif, near Beit Shemesh, midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The JNF has been established in order to purchase lands in Palestine and designate them exclusively for Jewish settlement. It has done so by raising funds from Jewish communities around the world. Its forests have played a major role in Israel’s efforts to Judaize the landscape and cleanse it of all remainder and reminder of Palestinian presence. It did so by erasing the historical and social history that connects the Palestinians to the villages whose ruins are now covered by these forests. To this very day, JNF continues its efforts to uproot Palestinian communities in Occupied East Jerusalem, the Naqab/Negev and the West Bank, making cynical use of ecological campaigns as a contemporary tool for dispossessing the Palestinians and perpetuating Israel’s land grabs. The JNF continues to operate that way without being held to account.
Zochrot congratulates Erik Ader for this brave step, and also congratulates the refugees from Beit Nattif for having the courage to take part in such an event, accept Ader’s apology and join his protest against the JNF and the State of Israel – despite the fact that they have yet to see justice done. They have yet to return to their lands and homes.
Zochrot is proud to be part of this initiative, which is consistent with its call for complete return of all Palestinian refugees who so wish. It also dovetails with Zochrot’s strategy of mainly addressing the Jewish Israeli public and calling it to take responsibility for the Nakba and redress its wrongs in the space it has occupied since 1948.