Friday, 27 December 2013 00:21

"The 'Come and See' Tour", by Les Filotas

The Siraj Center helped organize a memorable tour of the Holy Land for seven Canadian citizens of varied backgrounds trying to make sense of their government’s policies toward Palestine/Israel. While we did expect to visit unique historical sights we were definitely not interested in a package from a glossy travel brochure. We hoped, rather, to see and experience the reality of the issues and hear informed points of view from all sides. Our hectic two week schedule certainly met and exceeded our most optimistic expectations.

Departing Jericho we had our final walk which was perhaps the most stunning of them all. We walked through an area so barren that it felt we really had been transported back to Biblical times. The only life we saw was a baby owl sleeping quietly in a crack in the rocks.

We completed our four-hour hike with an astonishing view across a canyon to the Mar Saba Monastery which is built into the rock and is simply one of the most impressive sights we have seen to date. Upon arriving in Jerusalem we headed straight to the Mount of Olives and took in the impressive view of East Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock taking centre stage.

When you travel to this sensitive part of the world, the first thing you feel is some sort of unease as you go through the passport control at the airport in Tel Aviv, in Israel. It might be the consequence of all we read about it in our western papers and of all the news we get from this part of the world, usually worrying and somehow obscure, but the reality that awaits you just a few kilometers away, once you leave the airport and start your journey traveling to Nablus, in the West Bank, is much more exciting, positive and enjoyable than what you expect.


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Tuesday, 13 August 2013 08:52

FAAP Group

From 16/7/2013 to 26/7/2013

Seven students from Brazil came to Palestine from 16/7/2013 to 26/7/2013 to experience Palestine and to share the daily life of Palestinians.

They started their tour in Jerusalem, then moved onto Duma and kufurMalek and they stayed overnight there with local families which was a great chance for them to live the daily life and share their food. Next, they moved to Bethlehem, passed by Hebron, and at last visited the Negev.

From 25/6/2013 to 3/7/2013

A UUJME group of 13 Pax, the aim of their tour was to learn about the human rights andthe political situations, in order to return to the U.S. to work more effectively for Palestinian rights in the context of a just peace.  To achieve this objective they met with Palestinian and Israeli people representing many different viewpoints: academics, human rights workers, representatives of Fatah and of Hamas, lawyers, a right-wing settler, and many others.

They started their tour in Jerusalem, and went on to Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus,  Nazareth, Haifa and Tel Aviv.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 14:50

Abraham Children Group

From 15/6/2013 to 29/6/2013

The group signed-up for a ‘listening’ tour through which the participants wanted to learn about the issues and contemporary lives of Palestinians and Israelis by meeting persons who are members of the different religious communities, i.e., Christians, Muslims, Jews, Samaritans, Druze, and Baha'i.

The tour began in Jerusalem.  After that, the group visited Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Nazareth, Majdal Shams, and finally Haifa.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 14:49

Bike Tour, June 2013

A group from Norway cycled all the way from Nazareth to Jerusalem, passing through Nablus, Taybeh, Jericho, Bethlehem, and Hebron before then they finished their tour in the Old City.

The group cycled through a variety of landscapes, visiting historic sites along the way and enjoying Palestine's food, hospitality, and culture.