Solidarity Delegation to Palestine
The Solidarity Delegation will take place in the last two weeks of August 2005, i. e. August 14th to 28th. In the first week we have planned visits and meetings with representatives of political, cultural and social organisations of the Palestinian resistance movement as well as with anti-Zionist Jewish organisations; in the second week we´ve planned to work in a social structure for the Palestinian population.
Draft Programme (subject to change):
Bethlehem and settlements in the area:
Tour of the city, surrounding settlements, refugee camp, the wall. Israel is building a ring of settlements around Jerusalem to systematically fracture Palestinian Territories and eventually incorporate them into the Jewish settlement areas. The Israeli settlement policy is sometimes called "matrix of control". Meetings with representatives of the resistance organisations.
The policy of occupation and ethnic cleansing in this city is an epitome for what is happening in the occupied territories. It was in Hebron, where the fanatic settler Goldstein massacred praying Palestinians. Terror on a day-to-day basis…—occupation, violence, humiliations, harassment, shut-down of normal life…—is to make the Arab population leave their city. Visit to the Old City and Jewish settlements. Meetings
We will visit the historic Palestinian quarters of Jerusalem to understand the increasing restrictions and spatial constraints on the Palestinians in the city. Visit of construction sites of the Apartheid wall in Jerusalem. Meetings with the Jewish-Arab Alternative Information Centre etc.
Nablus is one of the most important historic cities of Palestine after Jerusalem. The resistance movement there has deep and stable roots. That is the reason why this city was destroyed by the Israeli army last year with hardly any reaction in the media in the west. Since then, Nablus has been under a state of emergency almost continuously, curfews and sieges are permanent. It is nearly impossible to reach the city on regular roads. All this is to break the will of the population to resist. Shootings and killings of people…—including children…—happen very frequently. We will visit the city and the near-by refugee camp Balata. Meeting with refugees.
The refugee camp of Jenin was reduced to rubble during the Israeli military offensive in spring 2002. Palestinian organisations as well as the United Nations and Amnesty International at that time spoke of a massacre. We will visit the camp and refugees.
The city is in fact enclosed by the Apartheid wall and cut of from the surrounding land on three sides. As the population depends mostly on trade with the agricultural products of the surrounding land, the situation means economic death of the city. We will visit the city and see the wall.
Nazareth is the largest city with an Arab majority within the state of Israel. We will visit Nazareth to learn about life of the Palestinian population in Israel and the constant struggle and daily discriminations of the Israeli administration. Meetings with representatives of organisations advocating rights of the Arab population.
Since two years, the Gaza strip has been almost completely isolated from the outside world. For foreigners it has become almost impossible to visit this area, which has become famous as the "largest open-air prison of the world". More than one million people lives in this crowded area fragmented by Israeli settlements, army posts and roads off-limits to the Palestinians. The social situation is catastrophic, with unemployment, poverty and starvation. The Israeli army again and again launches large-scale offensives against the Gaza Strip, the most recent incident was in Autumn 2004. We will visit the Gaza strip, if possible.
Meetings to learn from and discuss with representatives of the whole spectrum of the Palestinian resistance movement as well as with representatives of anti-Zionist Jewish organisations are planned.
During the second week, participants of this delegation will work with a social organisation to learn about the living conditions of the Palestinian population and to give a concrete expression of solidarity. We are planning to work together on the fields near Bethlehem that are constantly under threat of expropriation by Jewish settlements in the area. We will plant trees and restore fields. An alternative might be to work in local kindergardens and other social facilities for children.
Cost (calculated on the basis of 30 participants and therefore subject to slight changes):
570 USD per person, including
two weeks of stay in Palestine
local travel by bus during the whole stay
guides during the whole stay
hotel accommodation in Bethlehem, Nablus and Nazareth including breakfast and dinner
The flight is not included and has to be organised by the participants themselves.