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.

The tour started in Jerusalem, covered sites in the Occupied West Bank cities of Nablus, Jenin, Jericho, Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, Hebron, Ramallah, and also Nazareth, Tiberias, Jaffa, Haifa, El Araqib, Canada Park. Over the two week period we attended some 30 meetings with Palestinians, Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, officials from NGO’s, formal and informal organizations, members of the Knesset, as well as British and Canadian journalists and our Canadian Representative in Ramallah.

During our travels we had opportunity to contrast checkpoint procedures for tourists reentering Israel from the West Bank with the everyday experience of resident Palestinians.

We were also able to observe first hand the contrast between Jewish settlement of in the West Bank such as Ma’ale Adumim and Palestinians towns in the surrounding desert which we were told are under constant water restrictions.

We also managed to find some time for visits to some famous religious and archeological sites like Church of the Nativity, the Dead Sea and Yad Vashem. At the Jordan River we saw some of the thousands who visit the Holy Land every year to be baptized.

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 09:32

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