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75% of visitors to Israel’s Canada Park believe it is located inside the Green Line (it’s not)

Israel/Palestine
Eitan Bronstein conducting the Canada Park survey. (Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

Eitan Bronstein conducting the Canada Park survey. (Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

As part of Zochrot’s New KKL project we surveyed 200 visitors to Canada Park on Saturdays, from November, 2013 through January, 2014 (Editor’s Note: KKL is the acronym of the Hebrew name of the Jewish National Fund). The interviewers were Eitan Bronstein Aparicio and Jeremy Milgrom.  The respondents were people they met in the park who agreed to participate in the survey.

(Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

(Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

First question:  “Are we inside the Green Line or outside it – that is, on the West Bank?” The map to the left shows that the area where visitors were surveyed is located on the West Bank, beyond the Green Line.

150 of the 200 respondents – 75% – said “We’re inside the Green Line.”  Not a few added, “certainly,” or “of course” inside the Green Line. They were very surprised to discover their mistake.  A young couple who had been surprised by the information ran into Zochrot’s interviewer two hours later and said, “We’re still trying to digest the information you provided.”

14 didn’t know the answer; 36 knew we were beyond the Green Line.  Some, particularly older respondents, knew a great deal about what happened in the area during the 1948 war, and about its capture in 1967.  While we didn’t record information about the respondents’ background, Israelis from the former Soviet Union generally were less knowledgeable about the area’s history.

(Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

(Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

Second question:  “Are you aware of any localities that were once located in the area of the park – two thousand years ago, one thousand years ago, or fifty years ago?”  88 knew about some localities, even if most weren’t able to name them.  They knew, or had heard of, Roman localities, Jewish localities (Tel Ayalon) or Arab localities.  112 didn’t know of any localities that had once been located in the Canada Park area.

Third question:  “Do you know about any Arab/Palestinian localities that were once located in the area of the park?”48 knew or had heard about Arab localities.  Most didn’t know much about them, or their names, only that until the 1967 war they’d been located in the area where the park was established.

152 knew nothing about the Palestinian localities in the park’s area, and even when we pointed out their ruins they didn’t know what they were.

(Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

(Photo: Eleonore Mreza)

Fourth question:  “What do you think about the KKL erecting signs in Canada Park and other parks it runs explaining the history of Palestinian villages that had been there?”137 agreed.  Most of the respondents favored erecting signs, unlike KKL’s practice of avoiding providing information on its signs about the demolished villages within the park area.

Many respondents stressed the importance of knowing the history regardless of their political views about the conflict.  Others said that it was important to explain about the Palestinian villages precisely in order to stress and justify what occurred in 1967.  Those opposed to the 1967 conquest said that signs would remind people of the injustice of demolishing the villages, which is important.

Responses to the survey indicate that a large majority of visitors to Canada Park aren’t aware of the existence of the villages of ‘Imwas and Yalu that were located there until 1967, even though their ruins are abundant in the area.  To generalize from this [lack of] knowledge, we can conclude that most visitors to KKL forests in Israel know almost nothing about Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel during the Nakba, which had been located within the area of those forests.  Therefore, it’s encouraging that most Israelis agree with the idea that the KKL should erect signs explaining about those villages.

Translation to English: Charles Kamen. This post originally appeared on the Zochrot website

About Eitan Bronstein Aparicio

Eitan Bronstein Aparicio founded Zochrot in 2001 and he is the co-founder of De-Colonizer, together with Dr. Eleonore Merza Bronstein. It is a research and art laboratory for social change, working to challenge the colonialist nature of the Israeli regime. To learn more please visit www.de-colonizer.org.

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24 Responses

  1. James Canning
    June 25, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Fascinating. Bravo! Maybe some billionaire could buy a full page in major North American newspapers from time to time, to diksplay a map of Israel showing its border. aka Green Line.

  2. James Canning
    June 25, 2014, 1:33 pm

    Is there a lack of good maps in Israel?

  3. just
    June 25, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Thank you Eitan Bronstein Aparicio and Jeremy Milgrom.

    Thank you Zochrot for your efforts to educate and more.

    • MahaneYehude1
      June 25, 2014, 4:58 pm

      @Eitan Bronstein:

      Next time you visit Canada Park, please, take a taxi and from the park exit, turn to the left, drive 3-4 minutes strait and turn to the right until you see Masjad Bilal Ben-Rabah. Please, ask the Palestinians there how many of them know the history of this Masjad and how many of them know it is a Jewish holy place for centuries that also the Muslims respected.

      If you have spare time you can continue to the old city of Jerusalem. Please, ask the peoples there who is the only people that declared Jerusalem as a capital twice in the history of this city.

      When you finish your research, don’t forget to come visit me at Mahane Yehuda. I will pay for the Shawarma with Salat Chazilim.

      Regards

      • talknic
        June 26, 2014, 10:02 am

        MahaneYehude1 “… ask the Palestinians there how many of them know the history of this Masjad and how many of them know it is a Jewish holy place for centuries that also the Muslims respected”

        Nice try, but the issue is, in case you didn’t notice, is WHERE the park is! It ISN’T in Israel.

        “..Please, ask the peoples there who is the only people that declared Jerusalem as a capital twice in the history of this city.”

        However, it wasn’t proclaimed as Israeli, wasn’t recognized as Israeli, isn’t Israeli.

      • Mikhael
        June 27, 2014, 7:09 am

        talknic says:
        June 26, 2014 at 10:02 am
        in case you didn’t notice, is WHERE the park is! It ISN’T in Israel.

        … it wasn’t proclaimed as Israeli, wasn’t recognized as Israeli, isn’t Israeli.

        The western, Israeli-held part of Jerusalem was most definitely proclaimed as Israeli territory in 1949 and as Israel’s capital in 1950, after its proposed status as a corpus separatum was rendered permanently null and void by the Arabs neighboring Arab states’ and the Palestinian Arabs’ refusal to accept the 1947 Partition Plan and subsequent declaration of war and invasion of Israel. After Israel’s victory in Jerusalem during the 6-Day War following the hostilities initiated by Jordan in the Jerusalem sector, the eastern half was reunited with the west, and it also permanently became Israeli territory. Canada Park is located within the boundaries of the capital of Israel. It will stay that way.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 27, 2014, 10:44 am

        Mik heil,

        Wrong. The Zionists have jurisdiction but not soverignty over Western al-Quds and neither over the Eastern half. And if the idea to make it a corpus separatum is “null and void” it is so due to the fact that the Zionists, given their nature as incorrigable liars, never intended it to be so at all, as much as by anything the Palestinians did. Further, the acts by the neighboring Arab states against the Zionist entity was due to nothing more than the fact that the Jews were attempting their Plan Dalet genocide and were rightfully stopped. The only sad part is that they weren’t able to destroy forever that Judeo-fascist regime.

      • Mikhael
        June 27, 2014, 11:03 am

        talknic says:
        June 27, 2014 at 6:36 amThe State of Israel was proclaimed BY THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT and recognized as THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT asked to be recognized (as proclaimed) and what ever remained of Palestine after Israel was proclaimed and recognized was not and is still not Israeli by any agreement or International recognition.

        You seem to have a problem in understanding what a “provisional” government is. The emergency, provisional government (הממשלה הזמנית) of Israel was replaced after the signing of the armistices; its decisions and resolutions were temporary, and superseded by the first convened government of Israel and successor cabinets . Perhaps, if the leadership of the Arab community living in the formerly British-controlled territory called the “Palestine Mandate” had accepted UNSCOP’s recommendation for partition and neighboring Arab states had not invaded the newly declared State of Israel, then the UN-proposed borders, which the Yishuv leadership had initially accepted, could have stayed as the basis for a state for the Jewish national community as well as a state for the Arab national community residing in the former “Palestine.” But the partition lines became permanently null and void after the Arab invasion and Israel’s eventual victory in its independence war. The belligerent Arab governments entered into armistice agreements with Israel (which, although by their nature are temporary, nevertheless, recognized that thet the 1947 lines were no longer valid) and, in the case of Jordan, annexed territories allotted to the unborn Arab state proposed to be founded in the former British Mandate of Palestine as well as the proposed “international” city of Jerusalem, and thus contributed to making the partition borders a NULLITY. The basis for any future Palestinian Arab state, if there is ever to be one, will be a portion of the formerly Jordanian-occupied “West Bank,” perhaps with some territorial swaps from pre-1967 Israeli territory. That’s for our government and people to decide. The Palestinian Arabs must reconcile themselves, however, to forever giving up the dream of an Arab “Palestine” from the river to the sea, or any insane demands to swamp our country with people claiming to be refugees. There is also no way that major Israeli-populated areas in the disputed territories like Gush Etsion or Maaleh Edumim will submit to Palestinian Arab control. Likewise, the Old City of Jerusalem, with its ancient Jewish Quarter. Major Jerusalem neighborhoods built since 1967, like Gilo or French Hill will also stay under Israeli rule in any future settlement. Nevertheless, outside of Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs, Israeli Jews will have to relocate or take their chances submitting to Palestinian Arab rule and risk being decapitated by the fanatics who will likely take over there. This sadly, includes Hebron , which has had a constant Jewish presence save from 1929-1968.

      • Elliot
        June 26, 2014, 10:21 pm

        @Mahane Yehuda,
        We should also require Australian aborigines to master the history of Melbourne and Native Americans to know all about New York. As if the Palestinians don’t know all about Rachel’s Tomb.

        Thank you Zochrot for the fantastic work you are doing. And to Charles Kamen for making this available to us in English. Give us more!

        Kudos to Eitan and Rabbi Jeremy!

      • MahaneYehude1
        June 27, 2014, 12:03 am

        @Elliot:

        So why you don’t address your comment to Eitan? Why do you thank to Zochrot by not to me, one of the Zochrim?

        Look, Elliot, if the two peoples, the Israeli and the Palestinian, want to live together in peace, each one should learn and respect the history and common memory of the other one. What I see here is an attempt to plant the Palestinian narrative while erasing our history and common memory.

        Please, don’t compare us to Australians and Americans, people that came from Europe as colonizers. We are here in our ancient homeland in which we didn’t forget in the last two millenia. Don’t try to erase our history and memories.

        Enjoy your Shabbes!!!

      • talknic
        June 27, 2014, 6:36 am

        MahaneYehude1 “Look, Elliot, if the two peoples, the Israeli and the Palestinian, want to live together in peace, each one should learn and respect the history and common memory of the other one. “

        That might be a good starting point …. AFTER Israel withdraws to its own territory

        ” We are here in our ancient homeland in which we didn’t forget in the last two millenia”

        ziopoop 101 has a very smelly problem. The State of Israel was proclaimed BY THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT and recognized as THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT asked to be recognized (as proclaimed) and what ever remained of Palestine after Israel was proclaimed and recognized was not and is still not Israeli by any agreement or International recognition.

        So if you’re outside the State of Israel, you have no right to illegally settle as an Israeli citizen.

        Best you take your inane drivel, bitch & whine to the Zionist Federation for demanding a separate Jewish state, thereby having duped Israeli Jews of the right to settle anywhere in the Jewish People’s Historic homeland, unless of course they’d like to become citizens of Palestine or Syria or Lebanon or Jordan.

        “Don’t try to erase our history and memories. “

        UH huh. Meanwhile people like you support the wholesale erasure of others http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk

      • Mikhael
        June 27, 2014, 7:22 am

        Elliot says:
        June 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm As if the Palestinians don’t know all about Rachel’s Tomb.

        Revisionist Palestinian historiography has indeed attempted to erase the Jewish history of Rachel’s Tomb and claim that Jewish veneration of the site is a recent, modern political Zionist phenomenon, despite the fact that Islamic sources from centuries ago discuss Jewish pilgrims at the site and recognized it as a primarily Jewish place of worship. It was redesignated “Masjid Bilal bin Rabah” only in the 1990s, although Muslim pilgrims also worshiped there, it was previously revered by Muslims for its reputed association with the Biblical Rachel. So indeed, new generations of Palestinian Arabs will not know “all about” Qeber Rahel.

      • Elliot
        June 27, 2014, 10:26 am

        @Mikhael,
        I do not share your concern about Palestinians forgetting that Masjid Bilal bin Rabah is a Jewish shrine. They can just look at the Israeli military checkpoint and the Jewish pilgrims.

        Thanks to this thread, I learned for the first time that קבר רחל, Rachel’s Tomb, has an Arab name too and is venerated by Muslims. It took Mondoweiss to teach me its Palestinian name. Who would have thought it: in all my years of Jewish and general education, I had never heard the name ” Masjid Bilal bin Rabah.”

        Thank you, Phil Weiss and Mahane Yehuda!

      • Zofia
        June 27, 2014, 10:50 am

        Worth reading for you, Mikhael: https://www.academia.edu/3044248/A_Weeping_on_the_Road_to_Bethlehem_Contestation_over_the_Uses_of_Rachels_Tomb
        A Weeping on the Road to Bethlehem:Contestation over the Uses of Rachel’s Tomb
        This paper examines the case of Rachel’s Tomb, a shrine revered at various times by various combinations of Muslims, Christians and Jews, looking at how the increasingly incommensurate ideas of local inhabitants and immigrant Jews about how the holy place should be approached led initially to a spatial separation within the shrine and then to violent, and exclusive, battles over sectarian (and increasingly‘national’) properties.

      • Walid
        June 27, 2014, 12:00 pm

        There doesn’t appear to be any record of Bilal bin Rabah having ever visited Palestine, so there is a good chance that there is nothing holy about it for Muslims other than it having become a standard mosque at one point in time with the given name of Bilal bin Rabah. Anyway, both Syria and Jordan claim to have his tomb.

        Here’s part of a Nadav Shragai article 2007 article dug up by Elder Of Zyon:

        … Indeed, the earliest reference I can find to such a name is from the BBC in 1997, and for the rest of the 90s that is the only news outlet I can find that ever used that terminology.

        Looking at some old books, I see it was called “Kubbet Rahil” by Muslims in 1901. This travelogue from around 1880 says:
        …We came to Rachel’s tomb, a small square whitewashed domed building, part of which dates back to the twelfth century. It stands by the side of the road, a mile short of Bethlehem. It is in possession of the Jews, and is only opened on Thursdays; but we looked in through a small aperture on the south side.

        Many other 1800’s-era books do describe Rachel’s Tomb as a mosque or as a place of worship for both Jews and Muslims. But none of them give any Arabic name that doesn’t include the word “Rachel” in some form. And certainly none of them describe the spot as being exclusively Muslim.

        Similarly, in 1949 the UN listed major holy sites according to religion. Here is what they said about Rachel’s Tomb as being claimed by both Muslims and Jews:

        Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin, when Jacob was travelling from Bethel to Hebron. A pillar was set up over her grave, and the spot was a familiar landmark in the time of Samuel. Several medieval writers refer to it as a Jewish Holy Place. The Arab writer Mugeir-al-Din described it as built of “eleven stones and covered with a cupola which rests on four pillars, and every Jew passing writes his name on the monument.”

        The tomb lies on the Jerusalem-Hebron road just before it enters Bethlehem. It consists of an open antechamber and a two-roomed shrine under a cupola containing a sarcophagus. The building lies within a Moslem cemetery, for which it serves as a place of prayer. The tomb is a place of Jewish pilgrimage. The Jews claim possession of Rachel’s Tomb by virtue firstly of the fact that in 1615 Mohammad, Pasha of Jerusalem, rebuilt the Tomb on their behalf and by a Firman granted them the exclusive use of it; and secondly, that the building, which had fallen into decay, was entirely rebuilt by Sir M. Montefiore in 1845. The keys were obtained by the Jews from the last Moslem guardian at this time.

        The Moslem claim to own the building rests on its being a place of prayer for the Moslems of the neighbourhood and an integral part of the Moslem cemetery within which it lies. The Moslems state that the Ottoman Government recognized it as such and further that it is included among the Tombs of the Prophets for which identity signboards were issued by the Ministry of Waqfs in 1328 A.H. They also assert that the antechamber was specially built, at the time of the restoration by Sir M. Montefiore, as a place of prayer for the Moslems. The Moslems object in principle to any repair of the building by the Jews although (up to the recent war) free access to it was allowed at all times…

        http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2009/10/rachels-tomb-and-making-of-arab-lie.html#.U62RJJSSzZc

      • Mikhael
        June 27, 2014, 11:22 am

        Elliot says:
        June 27, 2014 at 10:26 am
        @Mikhael,
        I do not share your concern about Palestinians forgetting that Masjid Bilal bin Rabah is a Jewish shrine. They can just look at the Israeli military checkpoint and the Jewish pilgrims.

        The Israeli military checkpoint is there because no Palestinian Arab security checkpoint would guarantee the physical safety and the right to pray of Jewish pilgrims at an ancient Jewish shrine.

        Thanks to this thread, I learned for the first time that קבר רחל, Rachel’s Tomb, has an Arab name too and is venerated by Muslims. It took Mondoweiss to teach me its Palestinian name.

        Qeber rahel indeed does have a traditional Arabic-language name associated with it. (It doesn’t have a “Palestinian” name, because there is no such language as “Palestinian”. ) That name is قبة راحيل— Qubbet Rahil,–which means “Rachel’s Dome.”

        Who would have thought it: in all my years of Jewish and general education, I had never heard the name ” Masjid Bilal bin Rabah.”

        Not only have you never heard the name Masjid Bilal bin Rabah particularly with reference to Rachel’s Tomb, nobody else did,until a little less than 20 years ago.
        As a disclaimer, before anyone accuses me of believing in Biblical literalism, let me state that although I was raised in a religious Sefaradi family, I am agnostic and don’t believe in the verifiable existence of a historical Biblical Rachel. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the site has long been associated with that matriarch from the Humash, by Muslims as well as Jews, and yes, while some devout Muslims also venerate this historically Jewish shrine, associating it with Bilal bin Rabah is brand-new. Although there may have been a mosque there in the past (as well as a church), there are no references to a mosque at that location named after the first Muslim prayer leader, Bilal bin Rabah, prior to the mid-1990s.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 27, 2014, 10:39 am

        “Please, ask the peoples there who is the only people that declared Jerusalem as a capital twice in the history of this city.”

        Well, we know the Zionists did, and the Palestinians declared their capital in Eastern al Quds. I think that the ancestors of both declared it a capital, back in the 20 minutes in the bronze age when this cross-roads backwater wasn’t owned by one of the empires surrounding it.

        So it’s actually 3.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 27, 2014, 12:31 pm

        how ironic an article on the history of canada park, which includes the two demolished villages of Imwas and Yalu, has been highjacked because of one jewish holy place. a metaphor perhaps?

      • Citizen
        June 27, 2014, 1:00 pm

        Glad somebody noticed. The diverter didn’t mention Rachel’s Tomb was situation within an ancient Arab cemetery, did he/she?

  4. DaBakr
    June 25, 2014, 2:18 pm

    This quote from the above is a good illustration of how many nations deal with conquest and dispossession. Is it enough? It depends on many factors. Nobody will be entirely happy that is for certain:

    “Many respondents stressed the importance of knowing the history regardless of their political views about the conflict. Others said that it was important to explain about the Palestinian villages precisely in order to stress and justify what occurred in 1967. Those opposed to the 1967 conquest said that signs would remind people of the injustice of demolishing the villages, which is important.”

  5. Henry Norr
    June 25, 2014, 4:40 pm

    KKL = Keren Kayemet LeYisrael = Jewish National Fund

  6. Citizen
    June 25, 2014, 9:28 pm

    Need a Chevy Chase movie to satirize this?

  7. yonah fredman
    June 26, 2014, 4:11 pm

    The byline is given as Eitan Bronstein and the article refers to Eitan Bronstein Aparicio. Nothing wrong with that, just noting.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 26, 2014, 4:21 pm

      yonah, at the base it says “This post originally appeared on the Zochrot website.” and if you open the link, the reference to “we” probably means Zochrot. my hunch is Eitan Bronstein Aparicio probably works for zochrot and is wearing a double hat. in addition it’s not alarmingly obvious over at zochrot’s site (tiny font) Bronstein wrote the article. anyway, it’s excellent and i’m glad we picked it up.

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