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A vandalized sign in Park Canada, which mentioned former Palestinian villages destroyed in 1967. (Tomer Noiberg/ Jini)
Last update - 03:22 04/02/2008
JNF to erect signs in parks, citing destroyed Palestinian villages
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: JNF, Israel, Zochrot 

During the War of Independence in 1948, some 500 Palestinian villages in the young State of Israel were destroyed. Many residents fled their homes out of fear of the Israel Defense Forces and other Jewish elements active in the area; others were actively expelled from their villages. Today, only a few of these destroyed villages are publicly mentioned in connection with their original locations.

New communities have been built on some sites; the ruins of others have been covered over by parks and nature reserves.

The Zochrot (Remembering) organization, which supports promoting the Palestinians' right of return to the destroyed communities, has for several years been trying to heighten awareness of this issue, and last week celebrated a breakthrough: Senior Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth L'Israel (JNF) officials notified the organization that in parks
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hat have a sign explaining the history of the area, the Palestinian villages that were once located there would also be mentioned.

Thus some 31 villages whose ruins are now located within the confines of parks where there are signs, will be saved from the brink of oblivion. Among the villages to be mentioned: Amuka, in the Biriya Forest; Reihaniyeh in the Ramat Menashe Park; Jimzu in the Ben Shemen Forest; Saraa in the Tzora Forest; and Ajur in Park Britain. They will be added to 12 other villages that are already mentioned on JNF signs.

Zochrot staff describe the JNF decision as "a revolutionary and interesting change." The organization's director, Eitan Bronstein, told Haaretz: "I think that today there is more openness to the subject and it is starting to be less threatening. The sky will not fall if we tell people that we kicked out Arabs and destroyed villages."

Most of the villages in question were destroyed during the War of Independence, when military forces blew up homes while occasionally leaving mosques, churches and cemeteries standing. In other cases, the houses were transferred to the state's possession. On some of the sites new communities were built, others were integrated into projects involving nature preservation, and some were destroyed many years after the war in 1948.

Zochrot relates that JNF parks contain the ruins of 86 villages. In the past, the organization petitioned the High Court of Justice against JNF and the Civil Administration, demanding public mention of the fact that in Park Canada near Latrun most of which lies within the West Bank  the ruins of the villages of Yalu and Emmaus, destroyed in 1967 after the Six-Day War, can be found. In the wake of the petition, the JNF agreed in 2005 to post two signs indicating the location of the villages.

However, two weeks later one of the signs was pulled out and the other was sprayed with graffiti and later pulled out as well.

The JNF's latest move is not related to the earlier petition. According to the agreement between the two organizations, Zochrot will transfer to the JNF the data it has on all the destroyed villages in the country, for the review of its rangers. It was also agreed that the organization would transfer to the JNF the proposed wording for the texts to be printed on the new signs.

The JNF did not confirm the agreement, but did state that there had been a meeting last week on the subject.

It is expected that implementation of the decision will take a long time, in view of the usual pace of sign postings, alterations and replacements in the various parks.

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      1.   They should also remember the Villages 17:04  |  * BEN JABO 03/02/08
      2.   JNF - Big Mistake 17:15  |  Fish 03/02/08
      3.   Thanks JNF Parks 17:16  |  Bandar Michaels 03/02/08
      4.   JNF and "right of return" 17:18  |  Maurice 03/02/08
      5.   Positive development 17:20  |  Ben Alofs 03/02/08
      6.   Yes and No 17:27  |  Danite 03/02/08
      7.   Distortion 17:29  |  Israeli citizen 03/02/08
      8.   Stupidity is climbing to an all time high... 17:37  |  sptz 03/02/08
      9.   significant progress 17:52  |  realism 03/02/08
      10.   Ben Alofs 17:53  |  danite 03/02/08
      11.   Good Idea 17:55  |  Mark Lincoln 03/02/08
      12.   JNF - The Lemmings of Israel 17:57  |  * BEN JABO 03/02/08
      13.   1948 all over again 17:58  |  Ron 03/02/08
      14.   WRONG MOVE JNF... 17:59  |  Mary 03/02/08
      15.   An interesting parallel 18:08  |  akiva (zionist) 03/02/08
      16.   Stop donating to the JNF,let arabs do it 18:20  |  Absolute Sweden 03/02/08
      17.   An Orwellian Lie 18:24  |  Norman F Birnberg 03/02/08
      18.   Ending the Denial 18:30  |  Tzfonit 03/02/08
      19.   Palestinian Propaganda Fund 18:36  |  Norman F Birnberg 03/02/08
      20.   No End To Madness 18:41  |  Norman F Birnberg 03/02/08
      21.   Looks like we will have to start taking our hammers on our hikes 18:45  |  Jew 03/02/08
      22.   Another Chapter In Israel`s National Decline 18:48  |  Norman F Birnberg 03/02/08
      23.   Actions in parallel. 18:54  |  Vital 03/02/08
      24.   Palestinian Villages Memorial 19:05  |  Fredy Ross 03/02/08
      25.   And the Canaanite names? 19:07  |  Nico de Lange 03/02/08
      26.   No 2 - Fish 19:09  |  David 03/02/08
      27.   Arabs lucky they have Jews as their opponents 19:15  |  Tom C 03/02/08
      28.   A very healthy step for all of us who love this land 19:19  |  SHlomo 03/02/08
      29.   Most of the Villages were ruined for a reason 19:20  |  Gil 03/02/08
      30.   The whining continues 19:21  |  Other Voices 03/02/08
      31.   JNF Commemoration 19:22  |  yuval 03/02/08
      32.   never again donate to jnf. will all israeli villages on arab land 19:28  |  ralph 03/02/08
      33.   What " Right of Return" ? 19:29  |  Doc Holliday 03/02/08
      34.   JNF 19:29  |  yuval 03/02/08
      35.   Nice de Lange - if you can find any Cannanites 19:31  |  Avi 03/02/08
      36.   Danite - good point 19:33  |  Benny 03/02/08
      37.   that`s the last time i drop a coin in a JNF box 19:35  |  dov 03/02/08
      38.   NO MORE MONEY FOR THE JNF!!! 19:41  |  EX JNF DONATOR 03/02/08
      39.   To Yuval - About Your Tidy Narrative 19:46  |  Norman F Birnberg 03/02/08
      40.   There is no Right of Return 19:54  |  Gili 03/02/08
      41.   Other Voices 19:55  |  Tran 03/02/08
      42.   #7 Israeli Citizen suggests we should forget history 19:59  |  Pablo B 03/02/08
      43.   #8 sptz wants to forget what happens in wars 20:03  |  Pablo B 03/02/08
      44.   About time too 20:13  |  sh 03/02/08
      45.   Not one dime of mine will go to JNF 20:31  |  Steven 03/02/08
      46.   And if we had lost??? Would there be signs??? 20:44  |  Ariel 03/02/08
      47.   JNF Stood for Ethnic Cleansing in the 1920s. Good Change 21:09  |  Markus 03/02/08
      48.   To#30 You would do more that whining 21:11  |  pal 03/02/08
      49.   The Israeli Left wing deserves a spanking 21:13  |  Gil 03/02/08
      50.   Thanks for saving me more money 21:17  |  Avraham 03/02/08
      51.   Diaspora Jews should get medals 21:19  |  El-Birawi 03/02/08
      52.   Regugees and reconciliation 21:22  |  Steve Dill 03/02/08
      53.   Let`s forget all those villages, let`s also forget the holocaust 21:36  |  Free Palestine 03/02/08
      54.   Jews just getting a pleasure irritating other Jews 21:37  |  Sam 03/02/08
      55.   Gili it`s the right to remember not RoR 21:42  |  sh 03/02/08
      56.   Renaming Villages (palestineremembered.com) 21:47  |  Bandar Michael 03/02/08
      57.   Benny (#36) re Danite For you info some person did that already! 21:50  |  Gil 03/02/08
      58.   Norman, 39 SO WRONG bout everything 21:57  |  yuval 03/02/08
      59.   It is so ironic, Diaspora Jews wants every one to remember 22:01  |  El-Birawi 03/02/08
      60.   Put a monument on my Zayde`s shet`l 22:12  |  Scharker Yid 03/02/08
      61.   What Israel did is ethnic cleansing, a Canadian should know 22:15  |  anti-racist 03/02/08
      62.   STEVE DILL (#52) is that the same George Habash whom? 22:23  |  Gil 03/02/08
      63.   Arab Jews were not expled, it was Alya 22:23  |  Moise 03/02/08
      64.   JNF........ Just No Funds 22:42  |  AK 03/02/08
      65.   To Ariel 22:59  |  Dana 03/02/08
      66.   more about refugees 23:04  |  steve dill 03/02/08
      67.   SELF HATING SUICIDAL STUPIDITY 23:08  |  amir 03/02/08
      68.   #39 Birnberg, your narrative is as bad as Yuval`s 23:14  |  roberto 03/02/08
      69.   Bandar 23:19  |  Alan 03/02/08
      70.   Danite 23:24  |  Ben Alofs 03/02/08
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