Don’t miss out because nothing compares to witnessing the situation on the ground! Palestinians have called us to stand with them by demonstrating this meaningful form of solidarity. At a time when accusations of anti-Semitism are being used to attempt to silence activists from speaking out about Israel’s violations of international law, we need to be equipped to respond. By joining these political study tours, participants receive the latest in-depth analysis concerning the rapidly unfolding developments on the ground. This also enables participants to grow in understanding of the need to update our rhetoric so that we don’t only speak of ending the occupation. Learn why it is more accurate to describe this as settler colonialism.
For more information about the forthcoming tours in November 2019 and March 2020, please go to https://icahd.org/extended-study-tours/.
Reflections on a challenging tour – D Smith, Wales
I have been to Palestine/Israel four times since 2013. The first time I went was to study the projects supported by a Christian charity and following it my wife and a friend had an independent visit which was later followed by joining a ‘witness trip’ facilitated by a Christian organisation. My most recent visit in late March 2019 was with this political study tour done in conjunction with ICAHD.
The opportunity to visit again after an interval of four years enabled me to assess the speed and nature of changes that have been taking place over that period. These have been incremental and therefore largely unreported in the main media. But they are significant. The Israeli cities and towns and the West Bank settlements have grown and appear to be more prosperous. New roads and railways have arrived. There is also much building activity in the principal Palestinian towns, especially in Ramallah, but this is mainly to construct new homes, office blocks and shops for the Palestinian middle class (30% of the population) rather than to improve the worn-out infrastructure. There are the signs of positive growth, but we did not see these in the beleaguered small towns and villages in areas under Israeli military control.
We attended 28 well-prepared appointments to hear about pioneering campaigns for human rights and courageous efforts to address the Palestinians' health and educational problems. Particularly impressive amongst those we met were the privileged Israeli Jewish citizens who as journalists, academics, lawyers, psychotherapists and a rabbi were at least as zealous in their defence of basic freedoms as those Palestinians directly affected by the deprivations imposed by the military rule.
Not surprisingly we picked up all kinds of deeply troubling stories. This brought home to our group the importance of monitoring and reporting on the issues that we encountered. Those whom we visited were obviously as grateful for our support as we were for their hospitality, urging us to encourage others to understand their plight and to find out for themselves the realities of the occupation. We agreed that in the long-term Zionism must be abandoned or severely modified. It cannot be sustained given all the paraphernalia necessary to maintain the dominance of a single ethnic interest: walls, checkpoints, restricted access roads, military control of the indigenous population and much more.
The tour was an extremely memorable experience which re-energised my commitment to speak up for the Palestinians.