Canada Park: la honte

Canada Park: Coverup of Warcrime

CBC TV 1991 Documentary on the Racist JNF’s “Canadian cover-up to a war crime”

Occupation Magazine: Protesting the JNF. Toronto community groups oppose fundraising for illegal « Canada Park », Dec 10 2007

Visionner le dicumentaire sur le Parc Canada, parc illégal du JNF en Israël, nommé en l’honneur du Canada qui a favorisé la partition de la Palestine en 1948. D’après Socialist Voice:

« Canada played a central role in the partition. Lester B. Pearson, who became Canada’s minister of external affairs in 1946, chaired the first committee on Palestine at the UN and was a strong supporter of Zionism. Brushing aside any thought of alternatives, he said: « I have never wavered in my view that a solution to the problem was impossible without the recognition of a Jewish state. » Canada sat on the United Nations special committee on Palestine, with justice Ivan Rand as its representative, and voted for the UN resolution that imposed partition. »

Village sues Canada companies cashing in on occupation
Deborah Guterman, The Electronic Intifada, 11 June 2009

The Israeli-built wall running through the village of Bilin. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

The small Palestinian village of Bilin will face-off this month against two Canadian corporations accused of aiding and abetting the colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Bilin has charged Green Park International and Green Mount International with illegally constructing residential buildings and other settlement infrastructure on village territory, and marketing such structures to the civilian population of the State of Israel. The condominiums in question are located in a settlement neighborhood known as Matityahu East.

Still in its preliminary phase, the lawsuit sheds light on the shady pairing of corporate interest with Israeli expansionist ambition. Representing the village of Bilin, the Bilin Village Council headed by Ahmed Issa Abdallah Yassin seeks to hold the companies accountable for violations of international law.

The lawsuit, filed by Canadian attorney Mark Arnold in 2008, accuses Israel of « severing » village land from Palestinian control, and transferring territorial control to Israeli planning councils. The rights to develop the territory were then sold to the Green Park companies.

Arnold is optimistic. « Certainly the Canadian law and the Quebec law appears to be on the side of Bilin, and against the side of the defendants, » he said.

The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits an occupying power from relocating part of its civilian population to the territory it has occupied. A violation of this principle is deemed a crime of war under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Insofar as Green Park International and Green Mount International constructed the buildings meant to house Israelis within the occupied West Bank, the corporations are considered complicit in the commission of this war crime.

According to Emily Schaeffer, an Israeli attorney representing the Village of Bilin, both the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute have been incorporated into Canadian federal law under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute.

« The Canadian statute specifically makes aiding and abetting a country in committing those crimes a crime, » she said. « This is the essential article that ties the [actions of] corporations to government responsibilities. »

A court of last resort

The Bilin case is one of a growing number of civil and criminal motions filed abroad that attempt to hold Israel and its corporate agents responsible for breaches of international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

However, according to Schaeffer, this increased tendency reveals the failure of the Israeli court system to protect Palestinian rights.

« The truth is that Israel is not willing to implement all of international humanitarian law and the laws on occupation on the occupied [Palestinian] territories, » she said. « We’ve made some headway, we haven’t gone far enough, and that’s why we’re in Canada. »

The question of the legality of the settlements has been brought to the Israeli high court on multiple occasions. However, the courts have repeatedly refused to rule on this issue. Instead, the courts deem this concern political in nature and thus outside the jurisdiction of the justice system.

Green Park International and Green Mount International have motioned to dismiss the suit. They claim that Canada is not the appropriate forum in which to try the case. Instead, the defendants contend that the suit should be heard in Israel as it is the country where the activity in question has taken place.

« Our opponents want us to go to Israel, » said Arnold. « We say — and the Israeli courts have said — that issues of this type are not justiciable [in Israel]. In other words, no justice can be given by the Israeli courts on these types of issues. The Israeli courts see them as being politically-based as opposed to legal issues. »

The Canadian scene

In the run-up to the preliminary hearings, Mohammed Khatib of the Bilin Popular Committee Against the Wall, and Schaeffer will tour 11 Canadian cities. The speaking tour is part of a civil society campaign to mobilize support for the embattled village. A spokesperson for the Coalition for the Bilin Tour, who wishes to remain anonymous, emphasized the need to hold corporations accountable for affronts to human rights.

« As members of the community, it is our duty to curb the power of large multinational corporations. We need to tell them, ‘There are limits to your quest to seek profits,' » she said in French.

Schaeffer highlighted the importance for concerned individuals to show solidarity with Bilin.

Speaking of the highly controversial nature of the lawsuit in question, she said, « The judge in this case needs to feel that it’s okay to rule in favor of the village — that there’s not going to be a major backlash. And that judge also needs to feel supported in making a decision that might very well influence Canadian foreign policy with Israel.

« I think the role of civil society is to say, we’re with you on this, we want this to happen. »

Bilin is seeking a permanent injunction against the Canadian corporations. In addition, if successful, the Green Park companies will be ordered to destroy the buildings they have already constructed and pay two million dollars each in punitive damages to the village.

However, it is doubtful that such orders will ever be implemented by Israeli authorities. In order for the ruling to be enforced, the defendants will have to petition the Israeli high court to accept the Canadian decision.

Bilin is located four kilometers east of the green line (the 1949 armistice line that marks the boundary between Israel and the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967) and is adjacent to Modiin Illit, a large settlement bloc that sits on territory confiscated from Bilin and the neighboring Palestinian villages of Nilin, Kharbata, Deir Qadis and Saffa. Since 2005, the residents of this agricultural community have been leading a nonviolent struggle against the construction of Israel’s wall in the West Bank on village land.

Ostensibly built to protect the existing residents of the settlement bloc, the route of the wall was drawn to incorporate the future construction of Matityahu East located just east of Modiin Illit. The wall appropriates an additional 450 acres, which accounts for 60 percent of Bilin’s land.

In 2007, the Israeli high court deemed the route of the wall in Bilin illegal, and ordered the Israeli military to move it closer to the edge of the settlement boundary.

To date, the military has yet to implement the high court’s decision.

Deborah Guterman is a member of Young Jews for Social Justice, a collective of Montreal Jews who take action on racism, injustice in the Middle East and inequality in their communities.

July 16th, 2009
Israeli raids on Palestinian village linked to Quebec court case

Battle of Bil’in
Stefan Christoff

Palestinian activists from Bil’in village say the Israeli military has raided their village almost daily this week. They claim the early morning raids are linked to a recent lawsuit filed by the village in the Quebec Superior Court.

Last month Bil’in launched the lawsuit against two Montreal-based companies, Green Park International and Green Mount International, claiming they played a role in building Israeli-only settlements on Palestinian lands in Bil’in, an act they say is illegal under international law and under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, established in 2000.

« Israel’s military raids began exactly at the same time that we started court hearings in Canada, » says Mohammed Khatib of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in. « Israel’s army raids are aiming to stop our struggle, and our court case in Quebec. Israel is collectively punishing us for our efforts to resist [the] Israeli colonization of our lands. »

According to eyewitness accounts captured on video (such as, Israeli soldiers have been entering Bil’in with heavy weaponry to target Palestinian youth who attend regular demonstrations against Israel’s « separation wall, » built on Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

« Israeli military forces have arrested nine Palestinian youths this week, some of whom are still in prison, » says Khatib from Bil’in. « These Palestinian youths have not been charged with anything. This clear detention of Palestinian children without charge is illegal under international law. »

An initial ruling on the Bil’in lawsuit in the Quebec Superior Court is still pending. Justice Louis-Paul Cullen is expected to rule within the next six months. Palestinians in the village are bracing for further Israeli raids.

For more information, visit

Ambassador Honoured for Canada’s Part in Ethnic Cleansing

Good article about a Canadian registered charity using tax credited gifts to wipe a part of stolen Palestine off the map.

Now if any Canadian charity so much as sends food and medicine to Palestine, guess what the j-ws do!

“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.”


Also see:

June 18, 2009

Dedication Site Built on Razed Palestinian Homes

Canadian Ambassador Honored in Illegal Park


in Canada Park.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

A version of this article originally appeared in The National (, published in Abu Dhabi.

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