‘The Latrun Valley: an integral part of the State of Palestine’ 7Jun13 June 7, 2013

Palestine News Network    -   6 June 2013

Latrun_07_Ayalon_ValleyMarking 46 years of Israeli occupation, PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department issued a new Fact Sheet and Map entitled “The Latrun Valley: An Integral Part of the State of Palestine.”:

“The Latrun Valley is located 20km northwest of Jerusalem on the historic road to Jaffa; it covers an area of 50km2, and is close to the Green Line. In 1948, the Latrun Valley consisted of the following villages: Beit Nuba, Yalu, Imwas, Latrun, EL Khalayil, Beit Mahsir, Deir Aiyub and Khirbat El Buweiriya. As a result of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe), when two-thirds of the Palestinian population were forcibly exiled from their homes by Zionist militias prior to the creation of the State of Israel, almost half of the valley is now considered No Man’s Land (NML),[1] an integral part of the Occupied State of Palestine.

The Latrun Valley is well-known for its rich water resources and fertile land. The valley begins just west of the Palestinian village of Budrus and runs southwards until it reaches Qatanna, a Palestinian village 12km northwest of Jerusalem. The Church of Imwas, a pilgrimage site for Palestinian Christians, is also situated in the valley.

During the June 1967 war, the Israeli military occupied the whole area of the Latrun Valley. The three Latrun villages that were left after the 1948 Nakba (Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba) were ethnically cleansed before being completely wiped off the map. After the forced displacement of the Palestinian inhabitants was conducted by the Israeli Army, the Jewish National Fund, in cooperation with Canada, built a park (the “Canada Park”) over the site of the villages.”

Most recently, Israel has begun the construction of a fast train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that passes through areas of the Occupied State of Palestine, including the Latrun. The route of the fast train demonstrates Israeli plans to turn its occupation into the annexation of vast areas in Palestine, of which the Latrun represents one of the most strategic areas to be annexed.

Though Israeli propaganda claims that the three villages were already empty when the Israeli army arrived, the testimonies of the residents of those villages, in addition to testimonies of some of the Israeli soldiers who were present at the time, confirm a premeditated forced expulsion. An Israeli photographer Yosef Hochman, who accompanied the soldiers at the time, reported that he asked Major General Uzi Narkiss (Central Command General in 1967 who gave the orders for the destruction of the villages) why the three Latrun villages were destroyed. According to Hochman: “Narkiss answered that it was revenge for what happened there in 1948.”

LINK TO FULL REPORT 


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