Tuesday, January 10

Canada Park- A Responsibility to Truth for Canadians

Peace will be possible when we acknowledge 
the wrongs of the past, embrace truth, 
and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

I visited Canada Park this past 
weekend and as you will see 
from the photographs it is a 
beautiful place only a short ride from Jerusalem 
off the main highway to Tel Aviv. There are paved 
roads and picnic spots and look offs with scenic 
views from almost every vantage point.
But this park, reforested 
with bush pine, cyprus and 
carob, covers over a 
shocking war crime that
 has a serious Canadian

This place is the site of the biblical Emmaus,
 (Luke 24) – Imwas to the Palestinians.
The village of Imwas, and two other villages were
 erased from the face of the earth in 1967 and
 since then there has been an intentional plan
 to erase them from history, as if they never

Today the area is known as 
Ayalon Canada Park, and 
was established by the
 Jewish National Fund 
(JNF) in 1973, with funds 
from JNF raised in Canada.

There are numerous archaeological
remains from ancient history of this
area which was at times ruled by
 the Romans, Byzantines, caliphates,
 Crusaders, Ottomans, and the
British, as part of the Mandate in
Palestine. In each era, the native
 population changed their religion
and culture to that of their rulers.

Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba

During the Nakba Catastrophe in 1948, more than
 450 villages were destroyed and over 700,000
Palestinians were driven from present day Israel.
 Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba became part of the
West Bank under the care of Jordan.
Two decades later, there was a second
Nakba for these villages.
In the “Six-Day War”, on June 7, 1967 the Israeli
Forces on the orders of Yitzhak Rabin expelled
the more than 7000 inhabitants of Imwas and the
neighboring villages of Yalu and Beit Nuba.
The villages were destroyed – blown up,
 bulldozed razed to the ground. Over I400
 homes were destroyed along with public
buildings, places of worship and even

This cave was once
 an animal shelter attached
 to a Palestinian home
These civilian populations of
Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba did
not pose a threat to Israel or
the powerful Israeli Army. It
 was simply an act of
vindictiveness, and
a way of pushing the border further east.

Signs: Re-writing History

There are numerous signs
and plaques in Ayalon
Canada Park interpreting
 the ancient history of the
area, however nowhere in
 the park is there any sign
or plaque commemorating
 or recognizing the history
 of the Palestinian people or the three villages and
 their inhabitants.
There is a deliberate and concerted effort on
 the part of Israel to erase the Palestinian
 history, to deny a Palestinian existence
then and now, and the JNF has been the
 accomplice of the State in this endeavor.
This attempt to erase the history is done in
the mistaken belief that if the history is
erased the crimes that were perpetrated
will be erased and forgotten and will not
 weigh on the conscience of the present

They say history is written
by the victors. That may
have been true once, but
not anymore. We now have the
ability to record history from all
sides, in the written word, in
 photographs, in audio, in video,
 and in the voices of those who
 lived through it.

“Making The Desert Bloom”

A large format book titled “All that Remains” 
(The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated 
by Israel in 1948), edited by Walid Khalidi, records the
 names and details of more than 450 villages that
 were destroyed in the Nakba.  Since then they
have been paved over, built over, turned into
 recreational areas and renamed without any
recognition that within living memory the
native population was driven from their
 homes and villages into the refugee
camps on the West Bank and the
surrounding countries.
The JNF has played a major role in covering
 up the war crimes of ’48 and ’67 under the
guise of  reforestation and “making the desert bloom”.

The Israeli narrative that the people “left voluntarily”
is as ridiculous as it is farcical. Another well
documented source of this tragic event is a
book titled “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”
by Ilan Pappe, an Israeli author and professor
 of history.
Since 2002, an Israeli NGO
called Zochrot (Zochrot means
 “remembering” in Hebrew)
 has tried to promote
acknowledgement and accountability
 for the ongoing injustices of the
Nakba, and the idea that the
 “Right of Return”, and fair
compensation, is a necessary truth
 on a path to peace and reconciliation.
Although Zochrot is a voice in the wilderness
 it was nevertheless successful after years of
 persistent negotiation with the park, in placing
 a sign at the site of the destroyed villages. The
sign simply stated that the villages had once
 existed and pointing out simple sites such as:
In the village a spring and a few water wells
 have been preserved”.
 (You can read the entire translation in the footnote*)

But within a short time the
signs were torn down and
disappeared. The park
authorities suggested it
was the work of metal thieves
 – a likely story!

A Native of Beit Nuba

I first became aware of Canada Park some
years ago when I met Ismail Zayid a well
known Halifax doctor, now retired.  Ishmael
 was born and grew up in the village of Beit
Nuba. He and his family were driven out in
1967 and exiled in Jordan, never allowed to
 return to their native village. Never again
 can he sit by his parent’s fireplace and
remember the past and never will he sit
 there with his children and grandchildren
in the place where they belong – the place
that belongs to them.
I wrote to Ismail that I had visited the place
and left my footprints in the soil and he sent
 me this reply:
Dear Mel,  
Thank you for this very interesting report 
and your personal statement.
Your footprints in Beit Nuba will be a mark
 for a call for justice to eliminate the crimes
 and oppression that we, in Beit Nuba, and 
elsewhere, sustained and continue to endure. 
Thank you so much for your principled stand. 
Kindest regards. 
Ismail Zayid

The Canadian Connection

Canada Park was built with millions of dollars
 (initially $15 million and later additions of
millions for additions and Improvements)
donated by Jewish Canadian families,
 individuals and organisations to the
Jewish National Fund (JNF).

These families and Jewish organisations in
 Canada were largely unaware of the history
of the area at the time. It was simply proposed
to them by JNF that they could adopt a park
 in Israel, to be named “Canada Park”. John
 Diefenbaker, the former Canadian prime minister,
 formally opened the park in 1975. But as the history
  became known, many of the donors
felt uncomfortable, and the name was
subsequently changed to “Ayalon Canada Park”
The park was built with tax
deductible dollars and from
a Canadian perspective every
 tax deductible dollar has to
 be replaced with a real tax
dollar, so in effect the Canadian
public paid for this park. The
 Canadian public today would
be ashamed and outraged to
 learn that that they paid for a
 park to cover up this shocking
 war crime.

Erik Ader

Erik Ader  a  retired diplomat from the
 Netherlands felt shame and outrage when
he discovered how his father’s brave deeds
had been used to conceal the mass displacement of
Palestinians. His father Bastiaan Jan Ader was
 a clergyman and a resistance fighter in the
 Netherlands when it was under Nazi occupation,
credited with saving the lives of more
than 200 Dutch Jews.
As a tribute to Bastiaan, the Jewish National Fund
 planted more than 1,000 pine trees in his memory.
Decades later, Erik learned that the forest had been
planted over the ruins of Bayt Nattif, a village destroyed
 by Zionist forces during the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe),
 the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and as a response,
 donated 1000 olive trees to the village of Farata, a
 Palestinian village under Israeli occupation in the
West Bank.

He said:
I decided to donate 1,100 olive
 trees to Farata via the 
international Olive Tree 
Campaign. I saw the situation
 in the occupied West Bank 
where settlers continue with 
impunity to terrorize 
Palestinian villagers, on the 
one hand, and, on the other hand, I saw the scam of the 
JNF abusing my father’s name to cover up human 
rights abuses.” 
When his story was publicized, the commemoration 
stone for his father at the JNF forest over the ruins 
of Bayt Nattif was desecrated, in the same way as 
the signs were vandalized signs in Canada Park 
(“metal thieves”). The full story is worth reading here:

A Responsibility

 to Truth for Canadians

To continue to have
Canada’s name
 associated with the scene
 of this crime is an insult to
 all Canadians and therefore
I call on the decent and ethical
 Jewish families and individuals
 who contributed to the building
 of this park to make the following happen:

*Pay back the deducted tax dollars,

*Insist that The JNF and the Israeli Authorities remove 
“Canada” from the name of this park.

Place permanent and durable (theft proof) 
signs in the park recognizing the Palestinian history.

*Insist the JNF pay for the planting of 10,000
 (at least) olive trees in the Palestinian Occupied 
Territories , to replace the ones destroyed the 
the IDF and  the Settlers
This might be the beginning of the path to truth and
responsibility and a process to enable the families
of the Nakba and their descendants to return, which
 is their human right as confirmed by UN General
Assembly Resolution 194.
Peace will be possible when we acknowledge the
 wrongs of the past, embrace truth, and seek
forgiveness and reconciliation.
Mae / Dec 22 2016

*Footnote: The sign placed
 by Zochrot, which was
destroyed by ‘metal thieves’:
The civil administration –
Judea and Samaria

The Ayalon-Canada Park has an abundance 
of historical sites.
From Tel Ayalon-known as Ayalon, a city in the land 
of the Binyamin tribe, through the Aked ruins in which 
you can find the remains of a Maccabees fortress to 
the valley of springs that contains the remains of a 
water carrying system from the roman city Amaos-Nikopolis.
 In the site there are relics from the Byzantine period and 
relics of a crusaders fortress. In the time of the 
Mamelukes, in the year of 1288, the tomb of
 Sheikh Ibn-Jabal was built. The village of Deir Ayub
 that ruled the way towards Jerusalem existed in the
 park’s area until the Independence war. The villages 
of Amoas and Yalo also existed in the area of the 
park until 1967. In the village of Amoas 2000 people
 resided, they have been living in Jordan and 
Ramallah ever since. Near the ruins of the village
 a grave yard has been preserved. In the village 
of Yalo 1700 people resided, they have been living 
in Jordan and Ramallah ever since. In the village 
a spring and a few water wells have been preserved.
Please help us grow, any contribution big or small goes along way and is greatly appreciated!

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