Read about some other locations visited during this tour

Jerusalem, Hebron, the Naqab/Negev, Ramallah and the Jordan Valley

Bethlehem remains empty of pilgrims. Normally a visit to the Church of Nativity in Manger Square is essential. The church would be packed and with long queues of people waiting to enter. This time, there was no one there other than a few priests.

Photo: Church of the Nativity


Amongst the several appointments in Bethlehem was spending time at the Aida Youth Centre in Aida Refugee Camp. In addition to learning about the camp, which is the most tear-gassed location on earth and is surrounded by seven Israeli military watchtowers, information was shared about the youth centre’s programmes. The tour participants met Munther Amira, a social worker and one of the centre’s founders and the Chairman of its Board of Trustees.

Munther Amira’s story of arrest and torture

Munther was brutally beaten and arrested in front of his family on 18th December. He had been in an Israeli prison before, but this time was different. In detail, Munther described what happened to him. The cramped conditions, with double the number of prisoners in a tiny cell with barely enough food to keep them alive, along with physical and mental torture, convinced Munther that he would lose his mind and not survive. To his relief, he was released on 29th February, 33 kilos lighter in weight and with severe muscle starvation.

Channel 4 News broadcast Munther’s story however the Israelis said that it was not true. Currently, Anas Abu Srour, the Executive Director of the Aida Youth Centre, remains in administrative detention having been arrested on 28th November.

Photo: Poster about Munther and his work in Aida Youth Centre

Photo: view of the Wall to the east of Aida Refugee Camp showing the gate that opens when the Israeli army arrives.

Bethlehem’s Secret Garden

The tour group discovered a secret garden in Bethlehem which was a lovely location for one of the daily reviews on the day’s itinerary. The town is quiet, and it is perfectly safe to stay in Bethlehem

Watch the video here (35 sec)