21 February 2011 | The Alternative Information Center
Palestinian, Israeli and international activists gathered in front of the Representative Office of Canada to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Embassy of Canada to Israel in Tel Aviv for protest vigils on Monday (21/2) organized by the Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Latrun Villages.
A Memorandum to the Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Ambassador of Canada in Tel Aviv respectively was submitted, protesting on behalf of families of the Latrun villages, who were forcibly expelled from their villages in the 1967 war by the criminal action of ethnic cleansing, classified as a crime against humanity under international law.
Canada Park, built in cooperation with the Jewish National Fund, now occupies the site of the villages of Imwas, Yalo and Bayt Nuba, which were were completely destroyed in 1967. Their residents are now refugees in the West Bank and Jordan.
“Canada Park was planted and funded with the support of the Jewish National Fund of Canada over the lands and over the ruins of three ethnically-cleansed villages: Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba, occupied and ethnically cleansed in the course and the wake of the 1967 war,” Dr. Uri Davis told the Alternative Information Center (AIC) outside the Canadian Embassy.
“The ethnic cleansing was perpetrated by the Israeli army, not the JNF, but the JNF is complicit in this crime against humanity by veiling and covering up the crime, planting the Canada Park over the lands and over the ruins, and presenting itself as an environmentally-friendly organization concerned with public will and recreational welfare of all citizens of Israel.”
Participants carried banners reading: “CANADA PARK IS COMPLICIT WITH A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY PERPETRATED IN OUR VILLAGES,” “WE DEMAND THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA RECOGNIZE AND ACT TO IMPLEMENT THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF THE LATRUN VILLAGES,” and, “WE DEMAND THE NULLIFICATION OF THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) IN CANADA.”
The village defense committee has repeated requested that the Representative Office of Canada to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah meet with the Ambassador of Canada to Israel in Ramallah and together tour the Latrun area and the visiting the remains of the destroyed villages over whose ruins the Jewish National Fund (JNF) has planted “Canada Park.”
“Most representatives of the destroyed Latrun villages are not able to come to Tel Aviv to meet the Ambassador, it is our request that the Ambassador arrive in Ramallah, meet the people concerned and with a delegation of the destroyed, ethnically cleansed villages, visit Canada Park and submit an official report of his fact-finding to his government,” Dr. Davis said.
He continued saying, “Canada Park represents a blatant violation of international law, but it also represents a blatant violation of official Canadian policy condemning any intervention of settlement or occupation or change of demographic composition or any other alteration in the 1967 occupied territories.”