Former South African Ambassador to Israel, Ismail Coovadia, has announced that he will be returning a certificate given to him informing him that 18 trees were planted in his honor by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The trees were planted in the "Ambassadors Forest" at the completion of Coovadia's service in Israel last December. The "Ambassadors Forest" was inaugurated in December 2005 and sits on the demolished Bedouin village of al-Araqib.
In a letter to filmmakers Mark Kaplan and Heidi Grunebaum that was provided to Mondoweiss, Coovadia says planting the trees in his name without his knowledge "is nothing less than an offence to my dignity and integrity. I was not a party to, and never will be, to the planting of '18 trees', in my 'honour', on expropriated and stolen land. " Kaplan and Grunebaum's new film, The Village under the Forest, tells the story of "South Africa Forest" which the JNF created on the ruins of the Palestinian village Lubya after it was destroyed during the Nakba.