Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where I Went and Who I Met with throughout Israel, Palestine, and the West Bank

This is a Map of the West Bank Wall.  The Red Line is where the wall has been built and the Green Line is the border between Palestine and Israel.  Notice how the Red Line (the wall) in many places is no where near the Green Line (the border).

Here are some of the areas I traveled to and organizations and people I met with during my Interfaith Peace Builders Delegation to Israel, Palestine, and the West Bank.

  • July 15th- 18th:  Orientation in Washington D.C. and Arrival in East Jerusalem 
  • July 19th:  Jerusalem
      • Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) 
        • ICAHD is a non-violent, direct action group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories.  Their activities have expanded to include resistance activities to other areas- land expropriation, settlement expansion, by-pass road construction, policies of "closure" and "separation," the wholesale uprooting of fruit and olive trees and more.  ICAHD also conducts informational tours of the Occupied Territories from a critical peace perspective, for example tours of East Jerusalem that explore the geography of indigenous Palestinian populations, the Israeli Wall, and Israeli settlements.  ICAHD offers many opportunities and their website contains a wealth of information on becoming involved with their work. 
  • July 20th:  Sderot, Navtiv Haarsha, Gaza Checkpoint, and Kibbutz Zikim
      • Other Voice
        • Other Voice is an organization responsible for helping to promote creative solutions to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict emanating from the Israeli border towns around Gaza, particularly the town of Sderot.  Residents of Sderot have witnessed the conflict between Israel and Gaza for a long time and those who support Other Voice recognize the need for change in the policies which drive this conflict.  Other Voice is an organization that encourages its members to find new solutions to the conflict on the grounds that violence has plagued this region for too long and it is time to find a better solution which recognizes the needs of everyone in the region, both Israelis and Palestinians.  Other Voice is in communication with other similar groups in Gaza who are calling for an end to the violence. 
      • Kibbutz Zikim 
        • Kibbutz Zikim is a small kibbutz that was established in the Northern Negev region in  1947.  The kibbutz was home to Jews from Romania who had settled there.  Today it is a community of 385 persons and is responsible for producing mangoes, avocados and dairy products as well as polyurethane.  In 2010, Kibbutz Zikim was struck by a couple Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza strip. 
  • July 21st: Ramallah
      • Birzeit University 
        • Birzeit University is a premier research university in the West Bank whose mission is to provide Palestinians with the opportunity to receive a quality education that is rooted in the principles that guide a democratic society along with the skills to successfully navigate today's most complex societal issues.  Birzeit provides its students with an array of academic and social opportunities which enhance learning and provide the necessary career preparation for its students.  Under Israeli occupation, Birzeit has managed to maintain these programs despite attempts by the occupying authorities to prevent its operation and to complicate its role as an institution of high learning for Palestinians.  Birzeit University has also played a large role in defining the discourse surrounding Palestinian self-determination and its quest for statehood and recognition. 
      • Birzeit Right to Education Campaign 
        • "The Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University calls on trade unions, education institutions, organizations and social and political movements around the world to affiliate to the Right to Education Campaign and support students, teachers, and education in Palestine."
      • BDS National Committee (BNC)
        • The BDS National Committee is a network of Palestinian trade unions, NGOs, and organizations that are engaged in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.  The call for BDS was made by Palestinian civil society in 2005 to end financial support to companies, organizations, and corporations that benefit from or aid the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, as well as to boycott Israeli sporting and cultural events and academics, as these work on boosting the image of Israel and "defending or whitewashing" the oppression of Palestinians.  The role of the BNC as a coordinator of the BDS campaign worldwide is to strengthen and broaden BDS as a method of resistance and to provide support for BDS movements through training and media outreach. 
(more information to come concerning the following organizations)
      • American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Palestine Youth Program 
      • Hebrew University 
  • July 22nd: Jerusalem and Mevaseret 
      • Yad Vashem Museum 
      • Women in Black Demonstration 
      • Sheikh Jarrah Demonstration 
  • July 23rd: Nablus 
      • Budrus Film Screening 
      • Just Vision
      • Human Supporters' Association 
  • July 24th: Balata and Sakhnin
      • Balata Refugee Camp
      • Yaffa Community Center
      • The Towns Association for Environmental Quality (TAEQ)
      • Tour of Unrecognized Villages w/ Alternative Tours 
      • Freedom and Culture Tent 
  • July 25th: Nazareth and Bil'in 
      • Mossawa Center 
      • Bil'in and Nil'in Popular Committees 
      • Home Stays w/ Host Family in Bil'in 
  • July 26th: Hebron
      • David Widler: spokesman for the Jewish Community in Hebron (at Beit Hadassa)
      • Tour of Old City and Settlement with Palestinian Guide
  • July 27th: Tel Aviv
      • Tour of Jaffa
      • African Refugee Development Center
      • New Profile
  • July 28th: Bethlehem 
      • Wi'am
      • Badil: Palestinian Center for Residency and Refugee Rights
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