Now, 2000 years later, the modern-day city of Bethlehem - home of the Millennium - invites you to make a symbolic and historic journey commemorating that event by walking Palestine's Nativity Trail.
The carefully researched route-a 11-day journey is the first leg of the new Palestine Trail.
The Nativity Trail Route
(I am from Bethlehem)
You will have place in our Homes and Inn
Day one: Arrival
Upon arrival to TLV airport or any crossing borders, participants will be picked up and transferred to Nazareth. Dinner and overnight in Nazareth
Day two: Nazareth and Mount Tabor
After a tour of Nazareth including the church of the Annunciation and the house of Mary, drive to the foot of the mount tabor. Ascend tabor and visit the monastery of the Transfiguration.. Dinner overnight in Jinin city north of the West Bank.
Day three: Faqu’a to Zababdeh.20km
Early morning, drive to the village of Faqua. Start walking towards Zababdeh. Across the rolling Eastern hills of Palestine, through the village of jalbun and Mughayir to Zababdeh, a Christian town on the ancient Roman trade route. Overnight accommodation in community centre (modern facilities).
Day four: Zababdeh to Nablus.21km
Through olive groves and forests on the fertile hills of the west bank, descending to the spring of Ain Fara’a. Relax at the café and swim in the pool before continuing through the orange groves to the broad sweep of Wadi Bidan, a picturesque valley system rich in mountain springs. While in Nablus, we will visit Jacob’s well and Tel Balata. After checking in our hotel in the old city of Nablus, we will tour the old city and enjoy bathing in the Turkish Bath. We will enjoy a Palestinian traditional meal in the Turkish bath in addition for a traditional Palestinian music. Overnight: in the old city of Nablus.
Day five: Nablus to Duma
Walk through the Huwara checkpoint and continue from the village of Huwara to Awarta, enjoy the beautiful ancient old buildings in the village, visit the famous Maqams and continue to mount Awrma. Before arriving to Aqraba, rest at Mount Awrma and enjoy the scenes of Palestine and the ancient archeological site. Continue to Aqraba, Majdal Bani fadil.
The trail follows the escarpment separating the fertile highlands from the arid slopes of the Jordan valley, offering the first views of the desert and Jordan before reaching the agriculture hilltop town of Duma with it’s olive groves. Overnight : village accommodation with families
Day six: Duma to Ain Auja.18km
Across deep valleys and over high hills inhabited by shepherd’s before descending a rocky gorge to sea level at Auja Spring, one of the largest water sources in the Jordan valley. Overnight: camping with Bedouin shepherd’s near Al Auja.
Day seven: Auja to Jericho.13km
Desert terrain gives way to orange groves as the journey continues to the mount of temptation with its orthodox monastery clinging to the cliffs, then to Jericho, the oldest city on earth. Drive to the dead sea and enjoy swimming in its salty water. Overnight: orange grove camping or hotel in Jericho.
Day eight: Jericho to Nabi Musa.14km
Up the spectacular canyon of Wadi Qelt to St. George Koziba monastery, then over the arid mountains of the Bethlehem wilderness to the remote and dramatically situated Nabi Musa. Overnight: Nabi Musa guest house or camping.
Day nine: Nabi Musa to Mar Saba.8km
The original Nativity trail from Nabi Musa involved walking along the road, then taking tracks directly through the desert to the legendary orthodox monastery of Mar Saba in its wild canyon setting. The preferred route is now to drive the road, then follow desert tracks via Hyrcania, one of Herod’s mountain-top fortresses. Much more interesting! Overnight: camping outside the monastery, or with local Bedouin.
Day ten: Mar Saba to Bethlehem.9km
The trail’s final segment ascends the hills of the Bethlehem wilderness to the hilltop suburbs of Bethlehem. The way then descends on foot or by vehicle through Beit Sahour to Manager Square in Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity on the site where the original journey ended-and the Christian faith has its beginning. Dinner and overnight with local families.
Day eleven: Jerusalem
Spend a day visiting the old city of Jerusalem, walking via dolorosa, visiting Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque, and the Western Wall. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem
Day twelve: Hebron
We will drive to Hebron. We will hear about and observe the culture of Abraham, the father of the prophets, in a city still commemorating his name. We will hear a lecture by the Hebron Rehabilitation committee about the history and the current situation of the old city. We will tour the old city and visit the Ibrahimi mosque. After enjoying a nice traditional lunch, we will visit a traditional glass factory in the city. In the late afternoon, return to Bethlehem for farewell dinner and party. Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day thirteen: Departure
What to bring with you:
1- Flash light
3- Sun screen
4- Back bag
5- Walking or hiking shoes
6- Modest clothes
7- An Open mind and heart
Accommodation will vary between, guesthouses, family stay and camping with Bedouins.
Support vehicle will be available for the duration of the Walk. The support vehicle will transport your bags to every location you will be staying overnight at.
No vaccine mandatory
Ensure that you update your routine vaccinations. The vaccine against Hepatitis A is also recommended.
Beware of the sun. Make sure you cover it with clothes but fuller length, wear a hat and you rehydrate very often.
You can find pharmacies in the West Bank but nonetheless we recommend you bring the following medications, often helpful:
* intestinal antiseptic.
* Antibiotics broad spectrum.
* Sunscreen high protection
* Aspirin or pain usual
* Antihistamine (allergies, bites)
Whilst Palestine has been a destination for travellers for many centuries, the development of a tourism industry that provides services to a large number of tourists is still rather recent. Indeed, the development has not yet been completed and new capacities are being added. Despite this, we believe that the time has come to work towards a more sustainable development of the sector. Therefore, as representatives of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and private companies, associations and civil society organisations, we call on all tourism stakeholders in Palestine to commit to the practices and policies introduced in this Code of Conduct.
Your behaviour towards tourists: treat them honestly and with respect
1. Respect the religious belief of visitors and the freedom of religious worship. Appreciate cultural diversity. Respect ways of dressing and food preferences of visitors.
2. Tour guides: Provide accurate and useful information to tourists that covers the religious, social and cultural dimensions of Palestine. Do not just tell stories that visitors want to hear and do not repeat stereotypes. Instead of doing this, challenge the visitors by presenting different interpretations. Be aware of your unique role as a tour guide: visitors will draw conclusions about Palestinians from your behaviour.
3. Local communities, tour guides and employees in the tourism sector: Help tourists when they are in need. Be hospitable. Interact with visitors on a human level, do not limit your interactions to economic/financial exchanges.
4. Authority: The tourist police and other official bodies should deal with tourists in a respectful way.
5. Authority and local communities: Undertake efforts to prevent negative and irresponsible behaviour like begging from tourists and exploiting them.
Your responsibility towards local communities. Bear in mind that local businesses have a responsibility towards the people they employ and the communities whose resources they use.
6. Pay fair wages.
7. Distribute the income fairly amongst product producers, providers, sellers and intermediaries.
8. Sell national and local products and handicrafts to tourists. Consider adopting fair trade standards.
9. Develop means of communication and opportunities for interaction between Palestinians and tourists.
Engage in human and cultural exchanges for these can increase the benefits from tourism to Palestinian communities.
10. Create opportunities for local communities to participate in tourism.
11. Increase networking amongst churches and international organisations to explain the Palestinian narrative to complete the picture of people who are familiar with the more well-known Israeli narrative.
Improve Palestinian tourism opportunities by creating new and unique itineraries. In addition, research and develop special Palestinian package tours that can be promoted locally for visitors after they have arrived in the country.
12. Develop the competence of the workforce in the tourism industry and their knowledge of Palestinian identity and history. Further, train tour guides in contemporary issues. Develop the awareness of people interacting with tourists (guides, taxi drivers, host families, etc.).
13. Integrate culture and heritage into tourist programmes. Improve the image of Palestine through organizing festivals, conferences, workshops and use these cultural events to encourage tourists to spend longer periods of time in Palestine.
14. Improve marketing of local handicrafts and national products.
15. Raise awareness that programmes of Palestinian travel agencies should include all different aspects of Palestine, i.e. religion, politics, economics, cultural heritage and leisure.
Our responsibility towards the environment
16. Introduce environment-friendly principles to the operation of hotels, guest houses and restaurants and inform your guests about your standards. Increase the environmental awareness among Palestinians and provide a tourism that respects the environment.
Responsible business practices in the tourism industry
17. Increase transparency in business practices and engage in ethical competition which does not harm the value of tourism.
18. Tourists have the right to fair prices and full enjoyment of their trips.
To prepare your trip to Palestine, we encourage you to consider including the following in your preparation:
Choose an inclusive and balanced itinerary that allows you to visit and stay in different places.
Educate yourself by reading guidebooks, travel accounts and articles about current news and events.
Establish contact with Palestinians to get up-to-date information about the current situation, safety, local history, culture and customs.
Approach travelling with a desire to learn rather than just observe. Leave prejudices behind.
1. Adopting a considerate attitude towards the people you encounter, the environment, and host communities when traveling in Palestine helps to make sure that your trip is beneficial both for you as a tourist and for the hosts.Your attitude:
2. Your behavior:
3. Your use of natural resources:
4. Support the local economy:
5. Remember that the people you encounter have lived under military occupation for many years. Be sensitive when discussing related topics and listen to their points of view.
6. Be inspired by the pilgrim's journey: take your time to live and experience the daily life of the local people.
When you return from Palestine do not hesitate to share your experiences with friends and relations. Your Palestinian hosts will be very happy to know that you keep them in your mind and that you tell their and your stories. In this way, you can strengthen the human side of tourism and enhance its benefits to communities and individuals.
1. Share your experience:
2. Stick to the commitments you made during your trip:
3. Allow yourself to be enriched by learning experiences:
4. Take action:
A Palestinian Initiative
Responsible and just forms of tourism offer communities opportunities to share their cultures, tell their stories, request solidarity and foster tolerance and greater understanding. This is the principle that has shaped this Code of Conduct which has been developed to inform pilgrims and tourists of the reality of Palestine and Palestinians and to seek their support in using tourism to transform contemporary injustices. At the same time, the Code aims to raise awareness amongst Palestinian tourism stakeholders of how tourism in Palestine can be transformed and enhanced to truly benefit both hosts and visitors.
The Vision of the Palestinian Initiative for Responsible Tourism
The Palestinian Initiative for Responsible Tourism (PIRT) is a network of organisations, associations and public bodies committed to work for responsible tourism to the Holy Land and to act as advocates for this approach to tourism. We are committed to transforming the current tourism patterns in the Holy Land by encouraging pilgrims and tourists to include Palestinian cities, towns and villages in their itineraries in order to achieve a more equal distribution of tourism revenues to all people in this land. Based on our belief that both tourists and hosts can be enriched by human encounters through tourism, we invite travellers to meet the Palestinian people and explore their culture. We strive to create opportunities for local communities to become involved in tourism activities and to earn a fair income from the process. We believe that protecting and preserving the environment is of utmost importance, and thus we are searching for less harmful ways of providing tourism services. We call on all service providers to commit themselves to responsible business practices and to renounce exploitative behaviour. Our objective is to promote a just and responsible tourism in Palestine that benefits the Palestinian people, pilgrims, tourists and all other stakeholders in tourism in the country without harming local communities.
The establishment of just and responsible tourism for Palestine and Palestinians requires an understanding of political context and history, for it is these that set the constraints and barriers within which Palestinian tourism has to operate. The Code addresses these directly – and, by doing so, attempts to overcome them.
Palestine is a unique tourist destination – its long history, religious significance and natural beauty make it an amazing place to visit. Palestine's importance derives partly from the fact that it is home to the three monotheistic and Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Every year it attracts many pilgrims, people of faith and scholars who visit the holy places. Secular tourists come to explore the historical sites, Palestine's vibrant cities, rural life and nature reserves.
However, since the beginning of the 20th century Palestine has seen complicated changes in its political circumstances. These have included the creation of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 war. As a result of the latter, Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. These events have created catastrophic political, economic and social facts which have deeply affected the life of the Palestinian people, most of whom became refugees. In many ways Palestine itself was simply wiped off the map, historic Palestine coming to be known as Israel. In this context tourism became a political tool in the supremacy and domination of the Israeli establishment over land and people, and an instrument for preventing the Palestinians from enjoying the benefits and the fruits of the cultural and human interaction on which tourism thrives. Despite the fact that Israel signed the Oslo Agreements with the PLO in the 1990s and recognised the establishment of the Palestinian Authority to administer some of the Palestinian territories, namely the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many areas of life in those areas are still under Israeli control. For example, Israel controls all access to Palestine (land and sea borders as well as access from the airport), most of the Palestinian water resources, and all movement of people and goods from, to and within Palestine. These facts have significant impacts on the development of tourism in the Palestinian territories and the dissemination of information to tourists. Jerusalem – the heart of tourism in the region – has been illegally annexed to Israel, filled with illegal settlements, besieged, surrounded by checkpoints, and encircled by the Apartheid Wall, all of which has resulted in the city's isolation from its social and geographical surroundings.
Despite all this, the touristic, historic, and holy places found in Israel and the Palestinian territories are united. They cannot be separated from each other. In this regard what we are asking tourists to do is to visit both Israel and Palestine rather than choose to visit just one or the other. This is the route towards more fairness and justice.
Tourism in Palestine provides visitors with a particularly rewarding and enriching experience. Not only may the tourist discover the beauty, spirituality and hospitality of the country but also come to encounter some of the political, economic, and social facts on the ground that shape the daily lives of Palestinians. This is as it should be for much can be gained – both by tourists and by their Palestinian hosts – from a proper relationship between the two. Too often the contact is very slight, consisting of rapid, coach driven visits to the Nativity church in Bethlehem (with a souvenir shop on the way) – a style of tourism that derives from the fact that much of the itinerary is controlled by Israel and the processes of the Israeli tourism industry. Our Code, on the other hand, seeks to contribute to a more general effort to re-engage the tourist with Palestinian land and people in such a way that will benefit local communities, reduce over exploitation of a small number of iconic sites, and also reduce the pollution that results from coach driven mass tourism in the Palestinian towns and cities (especially Bethlehem).
Therefore, we urge you, the tourist, to consider visiting the Palestinian cities, towns and villages and to allow time for encounters with the population living in these places. We believe that in this way, tourism will realise its potential for both you and us. At the same time, we call on the local community to interact positively and in a respectful way with pilgrims and tourists, and to renounce small-mindedness and exploitation of visitors. We should all remember that visits by tourists to the country are an opportunity for cultural, social and human exchange.
My experience with the Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies began when the director of the stateside non-profit agency I work with, Playgrounds for Palestine, brought the program to my attention. I'm in the West Bank to explore potential playground build sites and initiate builds at Osh Ghorab Park and at the Bet Jala Arab Orthodox Club.
I often travel abroad for work and study and was prepared for the usual complications of making contacts, finding a place to stay, and spending countless hours trying to find the right people to show me the historical sights and features around my new home. Siraj remediated all of these impediments. George Rishmawi and the staff at the Siraj Center immediately began setting up contacts to help with my playground project. Furthermore, they recommended that I spend my time volunteering at a local organization beyond the scope of my normal work. I mentioned that I am certified emergency medical technician. Mr. Rishmawi went out of his way to get me an interview with the volunteer coordinator and public affairs director at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Ramallah. I received a placement at the Bethlehem Red Crescent working with an ambulance crew. Working with the medics at the Red Crescent provided me with a means of meeting people far outside the normal scope of the expatriate experience.
Immediately upon my arrival in Bethlehem, the staff at the Siraj Center welcomed me to my new family - the Siraj family - with a shared meal and introductions. I was immediately impressed by their professionalism as well as their honest desire to integrate me into the community of Beit Sahour without delay. I was introduced to my host family, the Salsas, and discovered another world of cultural exposure opened before me. The two months I spent living with the Salsas - eating together, meeting their friends and extended family - has provided me with insight and an understanding of the local culture that is oftentimes precious and rare for Westerners traveling abroad.
The guides and drivers provided by Siraj are of the highest caliber - university educated historians and teachers - who themselves live in the Bethlehem area and can oftentimes take a simple tour of a historical site far beyond the bounds of a textbook experience. By introducing the Siraj students to local business-owners, laborers, educators and others, they succeed in making relevant historical locations that date back many thousands of years. Any tour guide can explain the various architectural, archaeological and cultural traditions associated with, for example, the Church of the Nativity. Siraj guides introduce their students to the church's relevance to the people of Bethlehem today. They discuss the intricacies, difficulties, and celebrations that face the population charged with caring for this ancient structure. The teachers and guides from Siraj sought to bring these incredible sights into a contemporary context - something invaluable for a student of the 21st century.
Finally, I would like to emphasize that the Siraj Center also provided me with something I have rarely found with organizations that provide similar services. It provided flexibility. Siraj creates a full, meaningful itinerary for its students without locking them into courses, tours or volunteer experiences that aren't interesting or engaging for each student. The Siraj coordinators were constantly engaged in discussion with each student regarding their new interests. I remember - at one point I wanted to deviate from the program to visit a potential build site north of Jenin. The director of Siraj, George Rishmawi, arranged the travel and even accompanied me up to Jenin, showing me the sites along the way. I was surprised and touched by his commitment to my West Bank experience - to go so far out of his way to make sure that I was able to visit the places I wanted to. This personal attention to each student is the primary reason I recommend Siraj to my peers and coworkers back in the U.S. Every Siraj student lives, works, and learns in the Holy Land, but the staff at Siraj guarantees that this is not a homogeneous, boxed, cookie-cutter experience. Everyone here seems to have their own unique Siraj experience, whether it is for a week, a month, or a summer.
I will continue to recommend Siraj to students I meet here in Palestine, as well as my peers back home. I have accomplished my goals here in the West Bank - new doors have been opened to me - and I cannot wait to begin planning my return to my new family and friends here in Beit Sahour.
Nathan Dannison, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Ven y celebra Palestina, aprende árabe, estudio historia, conoce a la gente y su cultura, comparte tu tiempo con familiar locales y haz trabajos voluntarios con una organización comunitaria local.
La celebración del verano palestino es un programa anual único, que da la oportunidad a personas de todo el mundo de encontrarse con la vida y cultura en Palestina, además de dar algo de su tiempo a alguna organización comunitaria local a través de trabajo voluntario y prácticas.
La celebración palestina de verano 2007 tomará lugar en el área de Belén en Palestino, entre el Miércoles 20 de Junio y el 18 de Agosto de 2007. Esta celebración anual es organizada por el Centro Siraj para Estudios en Tierra Santa www.sirajcenter.org, en conjunto con la Universidad de Belén www.bethlehem.edu y la Sociedad para Estudios Bíblicos, con base en EEUU, www.sbsedu.org.
Los participantes también tendrán la oportunidad de escuchar y discutir con expositores de alto nivel, provenientes de distintas posiciones y experiencia.
Domingo 14 de Junio de 2009: Llegada
Luego de su llegada al Centro Siraj, los participantes serán presentados a sus familias de acogida. Cena y noche con las familias.
Lunes 15 de Junio de 2009: Día de orientación
Se espera que los participantes comiencen su día temprano en el Centro Siraj. La orientación será acerca de las diferencias culturales, presentación de Belén, calles, oficinas postales, servicios de salud, restaurantes y transporte público. Los participantes visitarán luego el Campo de los Pastores y la Iglesia de la Natividad. En la tarde, llegaremos a la Universidad de Belén para un tour y más orientación acerca de los cursos ofrecidos. Cena y noche con las familias.
Desde el Martes 16 de Junio 2009– Viernes 19 de Junio 2009: Clases y trabajo de voluntario.
Mañana del Martes: Representantes de las organizaciones estarán allí para recoger a sus voluntarios y mostrarles sus lugares de trabajo y oficinas, y la manera de transportarse.
Sábado 20 de Junio 2009: Primer Día de Tour: Hebrón
Tour a la Ciudad Antigua y encuentro con la "Temporary Internacional presence" en Hebrón y con "Christian Peace Makers Teams". Visitaremos la Mezquita Ibrahimi, las Tumbas de los Patriarcas y conversaremos con la gente local. Luego, conoceremos talleres de vidrio tradicionales y artesanías. Tendremos la oportunidad de visitar la Universidad de Hebrón y conocer a los estudiantes. En la tarde, volveremos a Belén y, durante el camino, nos detendremos en la Carpa de las Naciones y escucharemos sus historias. Más tarde, habrá un asado con locales del área de Beit Sahour. Noche con las familias.
Domingo 21 de Junio 2009: Día libre
Desde el Lunes 22 de Junio 2009 – Viernes 26 Junio 2009: Clases y trabajo de voluntariado.
Mañana: Trabajo voluntario.
Tarde: Clases en la Universidad de Belén.
Sábado 27 de Junio 2009: Tour por Jerusalén
Recorreremos la Ciudad Antigua y en Monte de los Olivos. Conoceremos lugares santos para las tres religiones monoteístas, a medida que visitamos la Mezquita de Al Aqsa, el Muro de los Lamentos y la Iglesia del Santo Sepulcro. En la tarde, conoceremos más de la situación geo-política alrededor de Jerusalén, mediante un tour con el Comité Israelí contra la Demolición de Casas. Durante nuestro regreso a Belén, visitaremos Betselem y nos reuniremos con la organización de Derechos Humanos israelí. Cena y noche con las familias locales.
Domingo 28 de Junio 2009: Día Libre.
Desde el Lunes 29 de Junio – Viernes 3 de Julio 2009: Clases y trabajo voluntario.
Mañana: Trabajo voluntario.
Tarde: Clases en la Universidad de Belén.
Sábado 4 de Julio 2009: Jericó y el Mar Muerto
Todos los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de participar en un viaje a la ciudad más antigua del mundo. Recorremos Jericó, incluyendo una caminata temprano en la mañana por Wadi Oelt, el Monte de las Tentaciones y Tel Jericó. También disfrutaremos flotando en las densas aguas del Mar Muerto. Cena y noche en Belén con las familias.
Domingo 5 de Junio 2009: Día Libre
Desde el Lunes 6 de Julio 2009 – Viernes 10 Julio 2009: Clases y trabajo voluntario. Mañana: Trabajo voluntario.
Tarde: Clases en la Universidad de Belén.
Sábado 11 de Julio 2009: Ramallah
Recorreremos la ciudad de Ramallah, y conoceremos organizaciones de derechos humanos. Visitaremos la Universidad de Bir Zeit y conoceremos a algunos de los estudiantes. Conoceremos el campus y escucharemos acerca de la Campaña por el Derecho a la Educación. En la tarde, tendremos algo de tiempo libre en Ramallah antes de dirigirnos a Belén. Cena y noche en Belén.
Domingo 12 de Julio 2009: Día Libre
Comienzo del Segundo mes: Desde el Lunes 13 de Julio – Viernes 17 de Julio 2009: Clases y trabajo voluntario Mañana: Trabajo voluntario.
Tarde: Clases en la Universidad de Belén.
Sábado 18 de Julio 2009 y Domingo 19 de Julio de 2009: Nazareth y Galilea
Este viaje incluirá una noche en el área de Nazareth. Durante los próximos días, los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de conocer a Ittijah, una coalición para organizaciones en la Galilea. Tour a aldeas destruídas y no reconocidas. Visita a Haifa, Jaffa y Akko. Encuentro con la Organización de Derechos Humanos Árabe en Nazareth, además de visitas a lugares santa en Nazareth y el Mar de la Galilea. El domingo en la noche regresaremos al área de Belén para la cena y pasar la noche con las familias.
Desde Lunes 20 de Julio 2009 – Viernes 24 de Julio 2009: Clases y trabajo de voluntariado.
Mañana: Trabajo voluntario.
Tarde: Clases en la Universidad de Belén.
Sábado 25 de Julio de 2009: Negev
Conoceremos organizaciones israelíes y visitaremos en desierto del Negev. Se nos presentarán los temas de los beduinos y visitaremos aldeas beduinas no-reconocidas. En el Negev, los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de visitar lugares sagrados e históricos también. Cena y noche en el área de Belén con las familias locales.
Domingo 26 de Julio 2009: Día Libre
Desde el Lunes 27 de Julio 2009 – Viernes 31de Julio de 2009: Clases trabajo voluntario.
Mañana: Trabajo voluntario.
Tarde: Clases en la Universidad de Belén.
Sábado 1 de Agosto 2009: Norte de Cisjordania
Los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de visitar en norte de Cisjordania. Visitaremos las ciudades de Qalqilia, Tulkarem y Jenin. Conoceremos las condiciones de vida de esas áreas y visitaremos la Universidad Árabe-americana de Jenin. Nos encontraremos con organizaciones locales y oficiales, y recorreremos los campos de refugiados. Cena y noche en el área de Belén.
Domingo 2 de Agosto 2009: Día Libre
Desde el Lunes 3 de Agosto – Viernes 7 de Agosto 2009: Clases y trabajo voluntario.
Mañana: Trabajo voluntario.
Tarde: Clases en la Universidad de Belén.
Sábado 8 de Agosto 2009: Preparaciones finales, no habrán tours.
Domingo 9 de Agosto 2009: Último fin de semana con las familias.
Desde el Lunes 10 de Agosto 2009 – Viernes 14 de Agosto 2009: Clases y trabajo voluntario. Éxamenes Finales.
En la noche, Fiesta de Despedida con las familias locales, organizada por Siraj.
Sábado 15 de Agosto 2009: Fiesta de Graduación en la Universidad de Belén.
Domingo 16 de Agosto 2009: Partida.
Caminatas, los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de participar en excursiones y caminatas largas y cortas durante su estadía en Palestina; así, podrán disfrutar maravillosas experiencias al aire libre.
Viajes de medio día: Durante la semana, los participantes podrán visitar áreas rurales de Belén y Palestina y conocer las aldeas; todas las visitas serán organizadas por el Centro Siraj.
Festivités d’été en Palestine
14 juin 2009 – 16 août 2009
Premier mois : 14 juin – 12 juillet 2009
Deuxième mois : 13 juillet – 16 août 2009
Venez célébrer la Palestine, apprendre l'Arabe, étudier l'histoire, rencontrer les personnes et leur culture, partager des moments avec des familles sur place, et être volontaire au sein d'organisations locales de la communauté.
Les Festivités d’été en Palestine sont un programme annuel unique qui donne la possibilités à des personnes venant du monde entier de faire connaissance avec la vie et la culture palestiniennes, en plus de donner un peu de leur temps à une organisation communautaire locale, grâce à un travail bénévole et à des stages. Les Festivités d’été en Palestine de 2009 se dérouleront dans la région de Bethléem, entre le 14 juin et le 16 août 2009.
Cette cérémonie annuelle est organisée par le Centre Siraj pour les études en terre sainte (www.sirajcenter.org) en partenariat avec l'université de Bethléem (www.bethlehem.edu) et la Société pour les études bibliques basée aux Etats-Unis (www.sbsedu.org).
Les participants de 2007 témoignant de leur expérience durant la cérémonie estivale de 2007 :
Ils ont également écrit leurs expériences: http://www.sirajcenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=127&Itemid=58
Le programme comprend :
– étude de l'Arabe, de l'histoire et de la théologie à l'université de Bethléem
– accueil chez des familles palestiniennes
– volontariat au sein d'organisations de la communauté locales
– visite de la Palestine et découverte de ses beautés et de sa culture, en plus d'une expérience de terrain de la situation politique.
Les participants auront également l'opportunité d'écouter et de discuter avec des intervenants de haut niveau qui représenteront diverses positions et expertise, d'apprendre la danse folklorique debkeh et de participer à des cours de cuisine palestinienne. Durant le programme, 8 films seront projetés au Centre Siraj.
Le Centre Siraj est une organisation à but non lucratif, se trouvant à Bethléem en Palestine. Notre travail consiste à organiser des voyages en Palestine et à aider les personnes à devenir des militants pour la Palestine leur donnant une expérience concrète de la situation sous occupation israélienne. A travers nos programmes, nous cherchons également à soutenir l'économie locale et les familles.
1- What kind of weather to expect in Palestine in the months of June- August?
Summer in Palestine is very hot and dry. People are expected to have sandals, hats, light seasonal clothes (not transparent), and lots of sun screen. Women are advised to dress modestly.
2- What about water?
Bottled Water is sold everywhere in Palestine. But people are encouraged to drink regular tap water.
3- What about telephones?
There are telephones located throughout the area, including with families, and voluntary work organizations. As for Mobile phones, the Palestinian telecommunication Company provides SIM cards that can be used for pre paid calls. These sim cards cost One Hundred Sixty Shekels ( $40.00 ) .
4- What about internet?
Internet cafés can be easily found across the region. This will be an important part of your orientation. And you can use Internet In Siraj Office
5- What about post offices?
An important part of your orientation is to show you where the nearest post office is located.
6- What about laundry?
Your family will help you use their laundry Machine at the family home.
7- What about Transportation?
There are services that can take you almost everywhere you want to go. The Siraj Center will also identify for you taxis with arranged prices making sure that the Palestinian Summer Celebration will not be used by any taxi driver and that participants will be charged local prices.
8- How do I get to Bethlehem?
There are two ways: A- Either by sending a driver with a taxi to pick you up from the airport in TLV and bring you to Bethlehem. This will cost $120.00 US Dollars per car. B- By taking a service called Nesher from the airport to Jerusalem and then catching a service from Damascus gate in Jerusalem to Bethlehem. After arriving, you should get to Siraj center and you can call us to give you the full address
9- What about ATM and currency?
There are several ATM machines in Bethlehem and one can withdraw in Shekels or US Dollars. There are many money changers in the Bethlehem area where people can change US Dollars into Shekels.
George Rishmawi is a Christian Palestinian activist from Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, Palestine, who believes in and works for peace using non-violent methods. He has wide experience of the situation of Palestinians living under occupation, and knows many of the people, organizations and NGOs campaigning locally and internationally.
In his capacity as Coordinator for the Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies (www.sirajcenter.org) which he co-founded in 2005, his advocacy activities include:
· organizing and leading international group tours of Israel/Palestine;
· organizing the Palestine Encounter program which brings International visitors to Palestine for first-hand experience of living with Palestinian families and working with Palestinian activists;
· acting as Executive Director of the Palestinian Heritage Trail, a programme which bring people from all faiths to walk along the Steps of Abraham Path between Jenin and Hebron and learn about Abrahamic values and traditions.
· expertise in more unusual tourism activities including cultural, political mission, and environmental hiking tours;
· representing the Center in international venues.
Rishmawi has undertaken speaking tours throughout Europe and the USA giving talks on various subjects related to the on-going Palestine-Israel situation. He has given training in non-violence to groups all over Palestine.
Rishmawi worked for two year as the Advocacy Officer for the Near East Council of Churches in Jerusalem specializing in water issues, including access to water and sanitation. He has also worked in the past for The Holy Land Trust, the Guiding Star Tour Agency, Jerusalem, and the Alternative Tourism Group, Bethlehem.
He is a board member of the Network of Christian Organizations in the Bethlehem area, a member of the World Council of Churches Palestinian-Israel Ecumenical Forum, and a Board of Trustees member of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People in Beit Sahour (www.pcr.ps). He was a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement.
Rishmawi recently elected to the Executive Board of the Arab Orthodox Cultural Club in Beit Sahour.
He holds a Batchelors Degree in English from Birzeit University, Palestine. During his time there he was a Student Council Member and organized five international work camps and two camps for olive picking.