Plans are now in place for the extended study tours that are part of ICAHD’s educational programme to equip internationals for advocacy and once again they will be facilitated by ICAHD UK. Two tours are offered for November which go beyond the traditional tourist sites as the political realities that affect Palestinians and Israelis are explored.
Participants witness the situation on both sides of the divide and travel to different geographical areas. Unique opportunities are provided to meet ICAHD staff, and other key leaders and organisations to gain first-hand, in-depth knowledge and some of the latest analysis. Participants also sit with local people and hear their stories.
Jeff speaks at Abu Dis
There is the choice of joining either a seven-day tour that provides a general overview of some of the main issues or a longer eleven-day tour which goes into more depth and has additional visits, including to the Galilee. A wide range of subjects are covered including house demolitions, displacement, education under occupation, refugees, water, women’s issues and more.
Price: £665 for seven days and £880 for eleven days.
The fee per person includes the full tour programme and staying at good three star hotels at half board (bed, breakfast and evening meal), sharing a twin-bedded room with ensuite facilities, tour leader, guides and tips inclusive. Not included are flights, lunches and travel insurance.
For more information please contact email@example.com.
Hundreds of people have joined these tours which for many have been life-changing.
“I thought I knew a lot about the conflict, but the tour changed some of my views quite a bit. If you care for peace and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis this tour is an absolute must to deepen your understanding.”
C Walischewski, Bremen, Germany – Nov 2012
“This tour is transformational. It is essential for those who wish to gain a deep and authentic understanding of what is actually happening in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and to act as ambassadors for developing real peace and justice in this region. It is also an opportunity to witness individuals demonstrate outstanding resilience and courage in the face of extreme constraints and harshness. I cannot recommend this tour enough”.
Dr P de Zulueta, London, Nov 2011
R Barnes from England wrote this article after his participation in a 2011 tour.
Nothing Prepares You
However much you might have read beforehand, nothing prepares you for the shock of standing next to the Separation Barrier for the first time, for the weeping Palestinian grandmother near Tel Aviv describing how troops and bulldozers came one morning to destroy her sons’ houses, for the brand new illegal settlements on the hill-tops of the West Bank, for the school with walls made out of old tyres in a Bedouin settlement east of Jerusalem, under threat of demolition but achieving excellent results. Nothing prepares you for the stories of casual bureaucratic cruelty: the family in Hebron who can get to their house only across rough steep waste ground because the road access is reserved for Settlers; the nine year old girl with her mother, going to Jerusalem for the first time in her life, told to take her trousers off at the Bethlehem checkpoint; the soldier not allowed to let a man in an ambulance with a severed leg through a checkpoint because at that time in the morning only school children can cross.
The cumulative effect of all the actual and threatened house demolitions we saw, in Israel itself, occupied East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, was profoundly shocking. The remnants of villages in the Jordan valley, denied access to water but close to illegal settlements with plentiful water and endless plantations of date palms, speak of a relentless and heartless policy of ethnic cleansing.
And yet it wasn’t all doom and gloom; we came away with as many positive memories as depressing ones. We were welcomed so warmly by all the Palestinians we met; we were so impressed with their dignity, determination and steadfastness. Some had terrible stories to tell of their houses being demolished time after time, their land stolen by settlements, their lives made almost intolerable. Some were helping to organise resistance in their village or community. “Living here is resisting the Occupation … Our life is the struggle.” Others are working in NGOs and local government providing mediation and medical services to cope with the effects of the Occupation, and trying to build the relationships and networks which a future Palestinian state will need. All of them made clear how important it is for them not to feel isolated in their struggle for human rights and equality. “This is the Wall that kills the spirit of the people,” said one. They need our help to make the situation they are living in known to the world. And we met wonderful Israelis too, working hard to expose the evils of the apartheid system and standing alongside the Palestinians in their struggle.
One of my happiest memories is walking along a dusty shabby street from our hotel, through a gateway, and into the beautiful courtyard of Bethlehem University: young people, Christian and Muslim, relaxing and chatting like any other students, waiting for classes to begin. A hopeful fragment of a better – a normal – future.
Space is limited so contact us today on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salim telling the story