EXTENDED STUDY TOURS
23 October - 2 November 2023 (Full)
6-16 May 2024
4-14 November 2024
Visit Palestine/Israel on an Extended Study Tour that will change your life
ICAHD-recommended issue-based study tours
Grounded in ICAHD analysis
Visit both the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel
A total of around 30 encounters
Daily debriefing sessions
Hotel accommodation in Bethlehem and Nazareth
"It was a life changing tour that brought alive the history of Israeli settler colonialism and its impact on every part of daily Palestinian life, caging them in and preventing them from enjoying so many of the freedoms that we take for granted. It really motivated me to write, give talks and be more involved in activism in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle."
(Jan O’Malley – Nov 2022)
“I strongly recommend this tour. I have visited Palestine many times over the years but my visits have tended to concentrate on one issue each time. The ICAHD tour gave me a coherent picture of the whole. Sadly the situation gets worse for the Palestinians each time I visit but the tour is a good spur for action.”
(Clare Short, former MP and Secretary of State for International Development – Nov 2022)
No amount of reading, attending lectures or watching films can convey a genuine understanding of the facts on the ground compared to being there.
These tours offer unique time with Jeff Halper, ICAHD’s Co-Founder and Head, who sets the scene by describing the current reality in Palestine/Israel within its historical and political context and near the end of the tour there is also a debriefing session with Jeff.
Participants visit Palestinians dealing with all the constraints and the suffering brought about from living under Israel’s Occupation and Apartheid policies:
- the demolition of their homes and loss of lands
- deliberate impoverishment
- the inability to move freely
- issues of water discrimination and the environment
- child imprisonment
- the psychological impact of generations existing under violent military occupation
- as well as issues of women’s rights, traumatised families, and refugees
As Jeff Halper explains, “The tour is not merely a litany of suffering; it is inspiring. You will meet people who refuse to give in, Palestinians who are sumud -steadfast- and who resist their oppression in a myriad of ways. You will also meet their Israeli partners working to end the Occupation and colonisation, both politically and “on the ground.” And you will explore elements required for a just, workable and creative future for both people groups thus enabling you to return home as a strong advocate for peace in your own community.”
These itineraries are individual, developed over twenty years and come with hundreds of recommendations from people world-wide. The tours provide engagement with inspiring Palestinians and Israelis and meeting them will change your life. Travel through different areas in the West Bank including the Jordan Valley, go north into the Galilee, south into the Negev and along the Mediterranean coastline in Israel. The itinerary includes walking over rough terrain therefore participants should be reasonably fit.
Transportation during the tour is by our own private comfortable coach with an expert local driver from a licensed bus company. The group is kept to a maximum of 20 participants.
Security – Throughout the tour the safety and security of tour participants is paramount. We only work with the best of those on the ground who are highly experienced and trustworthy. We do not engage in any acts of resistance during the study tours. Should there be any suggestion of risk in visiting a location, we are prepared and able to change the itinerary, even at short notice, with another equally informative and powerful experience provided.
The cost of the October 2023 tour is £1,320 which includes the full tour programme staying at good three-star hotels at half-board (bed, breakfast, and evening meal), sharing a twin-bedded room with ensuite facilities, guidance from the tour leader, other day-guides, information pack and tips. An online briefing meeting will be scheduled before the tour commences.
Not included are flights, independent travel from the airport to our meeting place in Jerusalem, lunches, and travel insurance. An additional supplement of £270 is available for single room accommodation by request. Previous study tour participants have engaged in fund-raising for some of the organisations met and this has proved to be a way to gain interest from friends and family.
To join, an application form must be completed electronically and an interview will be arranged. When participation is confirmed, a detailed booking form is completed, and £300 non-refundable deposit is payable at this time. We advise that travel insurance is obtained when this happens. A comprehensive information folder for the tour is provided by email which includes the full itinerary and details about all aspects of the tour. Personal pre-departure guidance is provided for each study tour participant.
"“We were promised that we’d hear a variety of voices on the tour – and we did! I have lived and volunteered in the West Bank a few times and am very aware of the oppression the Palestinians suffer. However, my knowledge was simultaneously widened and deepened by listening to people giving different views both in Palestine and Israel. The tour group itself came from contrasting backgrounds and had different experiences of the Occupation but we all benefited from our tour leader’s skilled management so we could learn from each other. . Each of us returned motivated to do more for the Palestinians in their search for human rights and self-determination.” "
(Gill Knight – Nov 2022)
Report on the November 2022 Extended Study Tour
Hearing multiple accounts about child arrests was especially poignant as were the many stories about military incursions, settler violence, home demolitions, water apartheid, land theft and more. "International governments have not been kind to Israel by allowing it to get by with these violations of international law," said Clare.
In addition to meeting in homes, offices and other premises, the tour participants spent time off the bus walking in the countryside and in villages, towns and cities. Environment issues were highlighted as we learned about research, education and conservation efforts that are undertaken. Although the Jewish National Fund was present at COP27, it is heavily involved in “greenwashing”. For example, draining of the wetlands just north of Tiberias that destroyed 219 species and the destruction of Palestinian villages and orchards and the planting of pine trees that change the soil to acidic making it impossible to sustain food bearing fruit and nut trees, with the focus on monoculture and with the pine trees susceptible to forest fires.
Although there is always a core group of organisations visited for each tour, itineraries are updated and new appointments included. In November we had our first visit to British Park, a forest and recreation area that extends over 10,000 acres. The forest was planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the 1950’s over the location of seven Palestinian villages that were destroyed during the Nakba when the state of Israel was established. Some of the Palestinians made refugees at this time moved to what became Aida Refugee Camp. To compare the space where these villages once stood to the size of Aida Camp with its 7000 inhabitants within 0.071 sq km, was shocking. The funding for British Park came from Jewish British citizens. To this day, JNF-UK has charitable status within the UK which is challenged by the Stop the JNF campaign.
The theme of demolitions and displacement and the resulting land theft due to Israel’s settler colonial policies, run through all of the study tours. While in the Naqab/Negev, we stopped for a view of Umm al-Hiran, one of the unrecognized villages, a community formerly with 2000 residents where now less than 300 live due to Israel’s demolition of homes and the pressure that it is putting on the people to move to the recognized town of Hura, with its poor services. Hura is more like a “reservation”, as the Palestinian Bedouins are moved off of their land and their agricultural way of life to living in cramped quarters. Our guide that day, Khalil Alamour, said that he expects that within months the remaining residents of Umm al Hiran will be forcibly displaced, replaced by Jews who are currently living in a nearby forest waiting to move here. The new town will be called Hiran. The question is, why must the new town of Hiran be located here when there is so much space in the vast Naqab Desert?
While near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, we stopped along road 449 for an explanation about harrassment from violent Israeli settler shepherds who have set up their tents across from the Bedouin community. The settler shepherds have moved their flock onto the land that was used by the Bedouins resulting in not enough land for grazing.both flocks. Such actions pressurized the Bedouins to give up and leave because it is no longer economically viable to raise their sheep and goats.
It was a joy to visit the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign’s beautiful community centre in Bardala. This centre is made of mud bricks, a project began by ICAHD and Torat Tzedek during its building camp in 2018. The centre is used for many activities by the local people.
“The tour was life-changing for me. I’m ashamed of my family’s Zionist background. Being here has allowed me to grow in confidence in representing the Palestinian situation in my work,” so said playwright Nikki during our last day together. At present she is putting the finishing touches on her play about a bookshop in East Jerusalem which will performed next spring. Nikki wasn’t alone in her sentiments. The tour made participants feel uncomfortable by what they witnessed and each of them returned home determined to intensify their commitment to the oppressed Palestinian people so that change will come.