Authentic Tourism: Individuals and Groups Working for a Just Future for Palestinians and Israelis
If you want to plan your own trip to Palestine/Israel instead of joining an established learning tour, we suggest you include any of the locations below to get an authentic experience of the life of Palestinians. Contact references are provided for your planning.
Aida Refugee Camp, Alrowwad Center for Culture and Arts (Bethlehem)
Alrowwad Center was established in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem in 1998. It is known for its philosophy of “Beautiful Resistance.” It works to deepen the notion of belonging, volunteering, creativity, and self-expression for children, youth, and women, regardless of origin or religion. It partners with kindergartens, schools, and the local community to create a more harmonious society through education on nonviolent communication. It also focuses on the performing and visual arts as a means to preserve Palestinian history. Alrowwad can also arrange a tour of the camp for visitors. www.alrowwad.org/en/ Speaker: Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour, Founder of Alrowwad
Al-Haq, Defending Human Rights in Palestine (Ramallah)
Al-Haq is a Palestinian non-governmental, independent human rights organization that advocates nationally and internationally to promote the rule of law and respect for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. It works through legal research, documentation, and building capacity to address violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians under international law, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator. http://www.alhaq.org/
Augusta Victoria Hospital, Lutheran World Federation (Jerusalem)
Since 1950 the Augusta Victoria Hospital, located on the Mount of Olives, has been a project of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Its main task has been to provide services for Palestinian refugees. Today, the hospital continues to develop services for the Palestinian community, mostly on a charitable basis. LWF welcomes visitors who are interested to learn about the challenges of providing medical services under the conditions of military occupation. From the grounds of the hospital, there is an excellent view into the West Bank. On a clear day, one can see all the day to the Dead Sea. Also visible are the wall and the huge Ma’ale Adumim Jewish settlement. www.avh.org/english.html
Ayn Hawd/ Ein Hod
When the Palestinians were expelled from this village in 1948, the homes and mosque were taken over to create an Israeli Artist Village. The mosque has been turned into a restaurant/bar. In 1948, some of the displaced Palestinians moved into the fields and orchards they owned on the hill above the village, and eventually built a new village. The new Ayn Hawd, which overlooks the artist village, features two excellent restaurants that serve traditional Palestinian food. You tour might want to eat in the Palestinian village, and then spend some time walking through the artist village to see the Palestinian homes.
http://www.palestineremembered.com/Haifa/Ayn-Hawd/index.html (The Palestinian village) http://www.ein-hod.info/ (The Israeli artist village)
The Wadi Restaurant (Excellent place for lunch – call ahead for reservations)
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Bethlehem)
BADIL is an independent, human rights non-profit organization committed to protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons. Their vision, mission, programs and relationships are defined by their Palestinian identity and the principles of international humanitarian and human rights law. They seek to advance the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people on this basis. They provide excellent educational programs to visitors in their office. http://www.badil.org/en
B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (Jerusalem)
B’tselem is an Israeli human rights organization. The Hebrew word “b’tselem” literally means “in the image of” and is used as a synonym for human dignity. The word is taken from Genesis 1:27 “God created humankind in his God’s image.” B’tselem was established in February 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel. B’tselem provides briefings to visiting groups in their offices. www.btselem.org/
Bethlehem Bible College (Bethlehem)
Bethlehem Bible College was founded in 1979 by local Arabs, to offer high-quality theological education and train Christian leaders for service in the local church and the local community. It aims to strengthen and revive the Christian church and support the local Christians in the Holy land in order to combat the growing Christian exodus.
www.bethbc.org/ Bethlehem Bible College regularly organizes international “Christ at the Checkpoint” conferences that attract an international audience. https://christatthecheckpoint.bethbc.edu/ Speaker: Dr. Munther Issac
Christian Peacemaker Team (Hebron)
Partnering with nonviolent movements around the world, CPT seeks to embody an inclusive, ecumenical and diverse community of God’s love. CPT Palestine supports Palestinian-led, nonviolent, grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. Their mission is to collaborate with local Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers and educate people in their home communities in order to create a space for justice and peace. CPT has been working in Hebron since the 1990s. They monitor the actions of settlers and soldiers directed against Palestinians and publish regular reports. They can also assist with arranging a tour of Hebron to help groups better understand the human rights situation. http://cptpalestine.com/
Jeff Halper, Israeli Anthropologist (Jerusalem)
Jeff Halper is the founder of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), and author of a number of books including An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel. ICAHD is a human rights and peace organization established in 1997 to end Israel’s Occupation over the Palestinians. ICAHD’s main focus is Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and within Israel proper. Jeff frequently speaks to groups, both in Israel and internationally. He also gives tours of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1968 and annexed to Israel. According to International Law, however, this area is occupied territory. The tour will explores the disparity in quality of life provided for Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem. http://icahd.org/
Jonathan Cook, British Journalist (Nazareth and Galilee)
Jonathan Cook is an award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth, Israel, since 2001. He is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is available for lectures and tours that highlight the issues and concerns of Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship and live inside Israel. Tours can be tailored to suit a group’s particular interests, but might include some or all of the following elements: a tour of the Old City of Nazareth as an example of a “de-developed” Palestinian space; a comparative tour of Nazareth and the neighboring Jewish city of Upper Nazareth, the flagship of Israel’s Judaisation program in the Galilee; a visit to a nearby Palestinian village, destroyed by Israel following the 1948 war and now replaced by an agricultural community exclusively for Jews.
Machsom Watch: Women for Human Rights and against the Occupation (Jerusalem)
Machsom Watch, which means “Checkpoint Watch,” is a volunteer organization of Israeli women who are peace activists from all sectors of society. They oppose the Israeli occupation in the area known as the West Bank, they oppose the appropriation of Palestinian land and the denial of Palestinian human rights. They support the right of Palestinians to move freely in their land and oppose the checkpoints which severely restrict Palestinian daily life.
They monitor checkpoints on a daily basis and publish reports in order to influence public opinion. www.machsomwatch.org/en Speaker: Hanna Barag helped found Machsom Watch
Military Court Watch (Ramallah, Jerusalem)
MCW’s work is guided by a basic principle that children detained by the Israeli military authorities are entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under international law. Further, and in accordance with the principle that no State is permitted to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal jurisdiction, there is no legal justification for treating Palestinian and Israeli children differently under Israel’s military and civilian legal systems.
www.militarycourtwatch.org Speakers: Gerard Horton, Lawyer and Salwa Duaibi are excellent speakers and provide a powerful presentation about the detention of children.
Omar Bargouti, BDS Movement (Ramallah)
Omar Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society BDS movement and author of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. www.bdsmovement.net
Palestine Museum of Natural History (Bethlehem)
The first Natural History Museum in the Arab world is being developed at Bethlehem University under the direction of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh. www.palestinenature.org/ Speaker: Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, author of a number of books including Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment http://qumsiyeh.org/
The Parents Circle/ Families Forum (Tel Aviv, Bethlehem)
The Parents Circle/Families Forum is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost an immediate family member to the ongoing conflict. Moreover, the PCFF has concluded that the process of reconciliation between nations is a prerequisite to achieving a sustainable peace. The organization thus utilizes all resources available in education, public meetings and the media, to spread these ideas. http://theparentscircle.org/en/about_eng/
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Jerusalem)
Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. The word “Sabeel” is Arabic for “the way” and also a “channel” or “spring” of life-giving water. Sabeel works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence and witness of Palestinian Christians as well as their contemporary concerns. It encourages individuals and groups from around the world to work for a just, comprehensive and enduring peace informed by truth and empowered by prayer and action. Sabeel was founded by Rev. Naim Ateek, author of Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation http://sabeel.org/
Sabeel’s weekly communion service is open to visitors each Thursday at noon followed by lunch.
Speaker: Cedar Duaybis, founding member of Sabeel
Sam Bahour, Palestinian American Businessman (Ramallah)
Sam Bahour is a prominent Palestinian-American businessman who moved to Palestine after Oslo. He speaks about the challenges of doing business in Palestine and provides political analysis of the conflict. Sam is an excellent communicator and sought-after speaker. He blogs regularly at https://epalestine.blogspot.com/. One organization that Sam works with is the Right to Enter Campaign. It is a grassroots campaign defending the rights of access, movement and residency in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory and is especially concerned with Israel’s denial of entry to Palestinian Americans, activists, and others. http://www.righttoenter.ps/
Stop the Wall Campaign (Ramallah)
Stop the Wall is a grassroots movement uniting the struggle of the popular committees in the villages, refugee camps and cities struggling against the Wall and the settlements and the efforts of Palestinian civil society. Their call is to: stop the wall; dismantle parts already built; return all lands confiscated for the wall; compensate for all losses. Stop the Wall organizes tours of the wall in Ramallah so visitors can learn about its impact on Palestinian life.
http://stopthewall.org/ Speaker: Jamal Juma
Tent of Nations (West Bank, South of Bethlehem)
Daher’s Vineyard is the name of the farm owned by the Nassar family, where the Tent of Nations is based. The farm grows olives, grape vines, almonds, vegetables and fruit on about 100 acres of land. The family has fought a legal battle to keep hold the land since it was threatened with confiscation by the Israeli government in 1991. The farm hosts a number of programs including reconciliation camps for youth and sustainable agriculture programs to teach groups about farming in an arid climate. Visitors may arrange to eat lunch with the family and volunteers on the farm. www.tentofnations.org/ Speakers: Daher, Daoud, and Amal Nassar
Zochrot (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem)
Zochrot, which means “remembering” in Hebrew, is an Israeli NGO working since 2002 to raise the Nakba to the awareness of the broad Jewish public. www.zochrot.org/en. Zochrot leads tours to the sites of destroyed Palestinian villages in Israel. A site near Jerusalem where Zochrot often leads tours is the remains of the Palestinian village of ‘Imwas which was destroyed and depopulated by Israel in 1967. An Israeli park has now been created on the previous village site with trees planted to cover up the remains. Speaker: Umar al-Ghubar http://www.palestineremembered.com/al-Ramla/Imwas/index.html