Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New National Park in Israel

Today, December 29, 2012, Israel declared a new national park.  Interestingly enough, as with most of the parks in Israel, this park is complete with “historical ruins,” including a lovely old stone church.  Where do they get the land for national parks when Historical Palestine is about the size of Massachusetts, and is home to two nations?  The simple answer is, the land came from the same source as all of the land in Israel—it is land that belongs to Palestinians.  The land for this park once hosted a thriving village, called Biram.  The residents of the village were forced out by the Israeli army in 1949 and were not allowed back, in spite of a 1951 Supreme Court decision upholding their right to return. (

 Unfortunately, this is just the latest of the national parks that Israel has established at the expense of prior residents.  Canada Park, a centerpiece of the national park system, was established at the expense of three Palestinian villages.

The Wikipedia entry for Canada Park reads as follows:
Canada Park (Hebrew: פארק קנדה, Arabic:كندا حديقة) (also Ayalon Park)[1] is a national park stretching over 7,000 dunams, mostly in the West Bank, with a portion in the region that was a no man's land before 1967 and incorporated into Israel in 1967.[2] It is maintained by the Jewish National Fund of Canada. Canada Park is located west of Jerusalem, to the north of Highway 1 (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem), between the Latrun intersection and Sha'ar HaGai.[3] The park attracts some 300,000 visitors annually.  Canada Park ... is filled with wooded areas, walking trails, water features and archaeological sites. (

Although Wikipedia says that the park is “mostly in the West Bank,” it does not mention that before Israel captured that land during the 1967 war, the land was the site of the Palestinian villages of Imwas, Yalu, and Beit Nuba.  The people who lived on this land for generations are now refugees.
According to Eitan Bronstein, director of Zochrot (Remembering), 86 Palestinian villages lie buried under Jewish National Fund parks. A further 400 destroyed villages had their lands passed on to exclusively Jewish communities.  Zochrot is trying to educate people to the hidden history behind the establishment of the national parks in Israel.

This video shows rare footage of the villages and interviews several people with first-hand knowledge of the destruction of the villages.

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