Comments by two recent study tour participants and
new features included in the March 2019 study tour
When retired Tribunal Judge Penny Wood applied to participate in the November 2018 Study Tour to Palestine/Israel, she wrote that she wanted to go to that part of the world because she’d never been there before. She is not a member of any organisation campaigning on the Palestine issue, but she is interested in helping fight injustice, so she wanted to hear directly from people living there about what life is like and what they want and will accept for the future.
Following the tour, Penny said that what she had been left with, apart from greatly increased knowledge about the Palestinian situation, is admiration for the Palestinians who continue to battle on, despite their lack of freedom and the invidious and unremitting discrimination they suffer daily in what is a virtually apartheid state. “They have had to do this for so many years and must feel forgotten by the rest of the world a lot of the time. But I shall not forget.”
Penny went on to say, “I learnt so much from this tour and I would highly recommend it to anyone, be they knowledgeable about, or largely ignorant of, the Palestinian situation. The visits to a wide range of organisations and individual Palestinians enabled me to gain at least some understanding of the reality of life for the Palestinians, be they in East Jerusalem, Palestinian villages or refugee camps. I would never have been able to gain that understanding without going on this tour, however many books I read.”
Another study tour participant, David Grybowski from Australia, summarized some of the issues covered. “There is everyday harassment like night-time home invasions by the IDF or police; tear gassing of school yards; random closure or go-slow at checkpoints (some of which has resulted in mothers giving birth in waiting line-ups); random inspection of identification and permits; denial of access to agricultural land; destruction of olive groves; and jailing without due law processes. All of this is designed to degrade Palestinian life and open more land for Jewish settlement. I have been an eyewitness or heard testimony to these things. They are not rogue actions by extremists – they are State-aligned actions to fulfil Zionist objectives.”
Plans are in place for the next study tour grounded in ICAHD analysis, scheduled for 18 – 28 March 2019.
New to the itinerary will be a briefing from the Hebron Defence Committee which works in the highly contested area of Tel Rumeida where extreme religious Jewish settlers are trying to take over Palestinian properties, and in places succeeding. HDC is the first responder following settler attacks on Palestinian residents in Hebron and it is also one of the groups that organises non-violent resistance events in Hebron.
Study tour participants will also meet Awad Abdelfattah, the founder of the Balad political party which aims to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity. Awad is also the Palestinian leader of the One Democratic State Campaign. For the first time the Palestine Centre for Rapprochement will take the tour group to a location east of Beit Sahour to learn about creeping settlements and outposts in that locality and its resistance to settler colonialism. The tour has scheduled a return visit to Al-Haq, the leading Palestinian human rights organisation based in Ramallah, which was one of the recent recipients of the 2018 Human Rights Award from the French Republic.
If you, like Penny and David, have never been to Palestine/Israel, or if you want to return to get fresh updates on the situation on the ground, more information about this March 2019 Study Tour can be found by going to https://icahd.org/2018/11/28/join-the-icahd-recommended-march-2019-tour/. To request an application form email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hurry as time is short!
What you will see on the March 2019 Study Tour to Palestine/Israel
The following photos by Stephen Sizer give an indication of the some of the sights to exoect on the March 2019 Study Tour.
Netting that catches trash from Jewish settlers falling on Palestinians in the street in Hebron
Stunning architecture in Nazareth’s Old City