The Palestinian culture has been inspired by olive trees -- a people with resilience similar to that of the trees which endure in Palestine’s the dry climate. Without fail, every October, the trees provide a crop of precious olives, generously contributing to the culture and economic livelihood of the Palestinians.
Although considered a sacred tree to all the major religions rooted in Palestine: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the very existence of this tree has been under constant threat which continues through to this day. As a part of a systematic programme to eliminate Palestinian identity and their presence on the land, the Israeli authorities, including the Israeli government, military, and the Israeli settler colonisalists, have destroyed over 800,000 trees since the Israeli occupation of 1967.
The majority of this destruction is the result of Israeli settlers’ violence and military operations conducted on Palestinian land and against the Palestinian people. The evidence of this is clear from the building and placement of the Wall (found to be illegal by the International Court of Justice in 1994), the construction of ‘Jewish only’ settlements and infrastructure including roads and exclusion zones throughout the occupied West Bank.
What are we going to do?
So that we may support the Palestinians in their efforts to halt the destruction and repair some of the damage done, we have organised an annual olive tree planting visit to Palestine. This programme enables people from around the world to come learn about and witness the reality of Palestinian life under occupation and to support the efforts of farmers to sustain their lands and orchards as a resource for the Palestinian community. While a 1,000 year old olive tree when destroyed is irreplaceable, the Palestinians only option is to continue planting trees to replace those destroyed in order to secure a future for generations to come.
Why should we do it?
By planting trees in Palestine you will give the families you work with a sense of protective presence from, and a witness to, Israeli threats and harassments, as well as support families in their struggle to protect their land from the continuing policies of land confiscation. You will also learn through a series of lectures provided by experts in the field about the social, political and economic situation Palestinians experience living under the longest hostile military occupation spanning the 20th and 21st centuries (48 years and going strong).
what should we bring to wear?
Winter in Palestine can be cold and wet. Come prepared for rain and wet earth with shoes appropriate for unpaved agriculture land and walking tours in towns and cities.
Suggested Schedule (Nine days)
|Day One||February 13||Arrival and meet the To Be There guides and other participants; introduction to the programme.|
|Day two||February 14||An introductory tour of the district of Bethlehem and learn about Israeli policies of control of oppression of Palestinians.|
|Day Three||February 15||First day of tree planting with a Palestinian family followed by a lecture about the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the people of Palestine.|
|Day Four||February 16||Visit the Old City of Jerusalem for a tour including its holy sites. In the afternoon, you will join a bus tour of areas of greater Jerusalem and learn about Israeli policies of annexation of those areas into Israel and the restrictions imposed on the Palestinian population of Jerusalem.|
|Day Five||February 17||Second day of tree planting followed by a lecture on Palestinian political prisoners.|
|Day Six||February 18||Visit the Old City of Hebron, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with evidence of habitation dating back to 4,500 BC. You will see first-hand one of the most stark examples of Palestinian life under Israeli military occupation; followed by a walk through the old market and a visit to the well-known Hebron Glass and Kuffia factories.|
|Day Seven||February 19||Free day on which you can re-visit Jerusalem, or visit Nabi Saleh, Bilin, Nablus or Jericho. We will be happy to advise you on where to go, how to get there and what to see and do. Please note that fees do not cover your travel or activities on this day with the exception of breakfast and dinner provided by the hotel or your host families.|
|Day Eight||February 20||Third day of tree planting with free time in the afternoon followed by an opportunity to evaluate the programme (Your views are important to us!) and enjoy a farewell evening.|
|Day Nine||February 21||Departure|
The fee for this visit is $1,000 (US Dollars) per person.
Fees will cover
- Accommodation in a hotel on a twin bases or with a local Palestinian family.
- 3 meals a day.
- Guides present at all times with the exception of your free day and afternoon.
- Fees for lecturers and guest speakers.
- Transportation inside the West Bank and on the days designated for visits to Jerusalem and Hebron.
- A portion of the fees will be used for the purchase of sapling trees we will be planting (including olives, figs, almonds and pomegranate).
Fees will not cover – please note:
- Fees do not cover travel to and from Israel which you will be responsible for organising; or from the airport into the West Bank and vice versa. However, the To Be There team can help in the organisation of a taxi from Ben Gurion Airport.
- Fees do not cover any travel or medical insurance. You will be responsible for organising your own insurance coverage for the trip and the duration of your stay.
- Fees do not cover your travel and activities on free days and periods with the exception of breakfast and dinner provided by the hotel or your host families.
- Fees do not cover any personal items, gifts or souvenirs you may wish to buy.
If you have any questions about the fees and what is covered, please contact us. We are happy to provide any guidance or information you may need to ensure your experience with To Be There meets your expectations.
CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION.
SEE YOU IN PALESTINE!