Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Israeli park a lesson in forgotten history

By Jonathan Cook

"CANADA PARK, WEST BANK // As spring sets in early, Israelis have been pouring into one of the country’s most popular leisure spots. Visitors to Canada Park, a few kilometres north-west of Jerusalem, enjoy its spectacular panaromas, woodland paths, mountain-bike trails, caves and idyllic picnic areas.

A series of signs describe the historical significance of the landscape, as well as that of a handful of ancient buildings, in terms of their Biblical, Roman, Hellenic and Ottoman pasts. Few, if any, visitors take notice of the stone blocks that litter sections of the park.

But Eitan Bronstein, director of Zochrot (Remembering), is committed to educating Israelis and foreign visitors about the park’s hidden past – its Palestinian history.

In fact, though you would never realise it, none of this park is even in Israel,” he told a group of 40 Italians on a guided tour this past weekend. “This is part of the West Bank captured by Israel during the 1967 war. But the presence of Palestinians here – and their expulsion – is entirely missing from the signs.”

Zochrot, staffed by Israelis and funded by individual donors, also seeks to remind Israelis of the Nakba, the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during Israel’s creation........"

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