Monday 22 June 2009


Dedication Site Built on Razed Palestinian Homes

The remnants of a home in Yalus.
The people were given minutes to clear their ancient homes.

Another sturdy family home razed for this illegal park.

Where are these people now? This place is still in their hearts and souls.

by Jonathan Cook

June 18, 2009


Working from Mr. Cook's piece I have added on a lot of extra material as well as imagery to provide more information. As well I have included the film "CBC: Racist JNF's "Canadian cover-up to a war crime". This film was pulled before it was to air on public television on a major Canadian documentary programme.

Canada’s chief diplomat in Israel has been honoured at an Israeli public park ~ built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law ~ as one of the donors who helped establish the park on the ruins of three Palestinian villages. I know I went a little overboard with the photos from Yalus, but they were just so beautiful it was hard to omit any. Almost all Palestinian imagery is from the amazing memory site PALESTINE REMEMBERED.

Dayr Ayyub, once a small Palestinian farming village.

Jon Allen, Canada’s ambassador to Israel, is among several hundred Canadian Jews who have been commemorated at a dedication site. A plaque bearing Mr Allen’s name is attached to a stone wall constructed from the rubble of Palestinian homes razed by the Israeli army.

Mr Allen, who is identified as a donor along with his parents and siblings, has refused to talk about his involvement with the park.

Rodney Moore, a Canadian government spokesman, said the 58-year-old ambassador had not made a personal donation and that his name had been included as a benefactor when his parents gave their contribution. It is unclear whether he or they knew that the park was to be built on Palestinian land.

The Zionist Canadian family, the Tanenbaums still work to discredit the Palestinians. Follow these links to learn of their latest "coup".



Canada Park, which is in an area of the West Bank that juts into Israel north of Jerusalem, was founded in the early 1970s following Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in the 1967 war. It is hugely popular for walks and picnics with the Israeli public, most of whom are unaware they are in Palestinian territory that is officially a “closed military zone”.

Uri Avnery, a former Israeli parliamentarian who is today a peace activist, has described the park’s creation as an act of complicity in “ethnic cleansing” and Canada’s involvement as “cover to a war crime”.

Palestinians driven from their homes so a park could be created.

About 5,000 Palestinians were expelled from the area during the war, whose 42nd anniversary is being marked this month.

Israel’s subsequent occupation of the West Bank, as well as East Jerusalem and Gaza, is regarded as illegal by the international community, including by Canada. The country has become increasingly identified as a close ally of Israel under the current government of Stephen Harper, who appointed Mr Allen as ambassador.

About $15 million ~ or $80m in today’s values ~ was raised in tax-exempt donations by the Canadian branch of a Zionist organisation, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), to establish the 1,700-acre open space following the 1967 war.

Ambassador Allen and his wife at a plaque thanking Canada for the park.

The Canadian government spokesman declined to say whether an objection had been lodged with the fund over its naming of Mr Allen as a donor, or whether Mr Allen’s diplomatic role had been compromised by his public association with the park. The spokesman added that the park was a private initiative between Israel and the JNF in Canada.

That view was challenged by Uri Davis, an Israeli scholar and human rights activist who has co-authored a book on the Jewish National Fund.

“Canada Park is a crime against humanity that has been financed by and implicates not only the Canadian government but every taxpayer in Canada,” he said. “The JNF’s charitable status means that each donation receives a tax reduction paid for from the pockets of Canadian taxpayers.”

Wildflowers growing amidst the ruins of Yalus in Canada Park.

Dr Davis and a Canadian citizen are scheduled to submit a joint application to the Canadian tax authorities next week to overturn the JNF’s charitable status. He said they would pursue the matter through the courts if necessary.

Dr Davis said attempts to rename Canada Park “Ayalon Park” over the past decade suggested that the Canadian authorities were already concerned about the prospect of the country’s involvement in the park coming under scrutiny.

Planting a tree for Israel to replace the verdant orchards of the past!

Joe Rabinowitz, the executive vice-president of the JNF in Canada, said ceramic plaques to Canada Park’s donors ~ including Mr Allen ~ had been erected a couple of years ago. Previous metal dedication signs were stolen many years ago, he said.

He refused to comment on the circumstances of the park’s creation, saying details about the park were available on the JNF’s website. A search, however, found only passing references to Canada Park.

The JNF is a major landowner in Israel, with duties that include establishing and managing parks and forests on behalf of the Jewish people worldwide. Most of the parks have been created over the remains of more than 400 Palestinian villages destroyed after the foundation of Israel in 1948.

The remains of a home looking down on what were most likely the family fruit and olive groves ~ before so many thousands of Palestinian people of the land were robbed and cast out.

Canada Park is believed to be the only example, outside East Jerusalem, of the JNF becoming directly involved in managing land in the occupied territories. JNF operations in the West Bank are run by a subsidiary, Himanuta. The formal division between the two companies is designed to protect the charitable status of contributions to the JNF.

Donations are often used to plant forests of pine trees over destroyed villages, including at Canada Park. The organisation boasts it has helped plant more than 240 million trees in Israel.

According to Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian, only a tenth of local indigenous tree species survived the JNF’s reforesting programme with pines.

This is what a Jew sees from a hilltop.
No memories, just another Settlement
squatting on the earth off in the distance.

He said that fast-growing pine was preferred because it was a rapid way to ensure expelled Palestinians could not return to their land and year-round foliage also helped to conceal the rubble of the destroyed villages.

At Canada Park, scattered stones from the three villages are still visible, and one building, a mosque misleadingly labelled a Roman bathhouse, stands near its entrance.

Imwas (Emmaus) today.This is what a Palestinian would see from this vantage point in Canada Park.

One of the villages, Imwas, is believed to be the Biblical site of Emmaus, where Jesus supposedly appeared to two disciples after his resurrection.

Among non-Canadian donors mentioned on the plaques in Canada Park is “Martin Luther King, USA”. It is believed the donation was made on behalf of the human rights leader after his assassination.

In an interview with Canadian TV in 1991, Yitzhak Rabin, who headed the army during the 1967 war and later became prime minister, said he had personally ordered the destruction of the three villages within what became Canada Park. He justified the decision on the grounds that Egyptian commandos were hiding there.

However, photographs by Amos Keenan, who entered the villages with the army as an official photographer, confirm Palestinian testimony that the Israeli soldiers faced no resistance as they advanced.

The wildflowers of Yalus, where once was a quiet village.

Uzi Narkiss, the Israeli general who led the assault on the villages, has said their destruction was “revenge” for the army’s failure to capture this much-prized section of West Bank land ~ then known as the Latrun Salient ~ in the earlier, 1948 war.

Today most of the Palestinian families expelled from the three villages are living in the West Bank or Jordan, unable to visit their former lands.

Those olive groves were once a family's way of life.The unique bond Palestinians have with their trees, their livelihood, was stolen from thousands to create this park.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

Vandalized sign in Canada Park, near Latrun in the West Bank.

Canada Park was created in part on the ruins of the Palestinian villages of Dayr Ayyub which was captured and destroyed by Israel in 1948, and Yalu and Imwas, which were captured and destroyed by Israel in 1967. In 2005, following a protracted campaign by the Israeli advocacy group, Zochrot, the Jewish National Fund agreed to acknowledge the existence of Dayr Ayyub, Yalu and Imwas on park signs (which had previously described the history of the area without mentioning the Palestinian presence).

The new signs were vandalized within two weeks of being set up. The sign in the photo used to read:

The Military Commander ~ Judea and Samaria: The Ayalon-Canada Park is replete with historical sites… including the remains of a church from the Byzantine period and the remains of a crusader fortress. During the monarchic period, in 1268, the tomb of Sheikh Ibn-Janal was built. The village Dayr Ayub, which overlooked the road leading up to Jerusalem, existed in the area of the park until the War of Independence. The villages Imwas and Yalu existed in the area of the park until the year 1967. In the village of Imwas there lived 2,000 residents, who now reside in Jordan and Ramallah. Near the remains of the village is a cemetery. In the village of Yalu there lived 1,700 residents, who now reside in Jordan and Ramallah. There remain a spring and a number of wells in the village.

The text in green type is the text that has been painted out on the sign.

One last photo of Yalus. The remnant of a rich past and a sad today.

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