A alternative travel guide for Israel and Palestine has been launched, including visits to refugee camps, Israel's Separation Wall and the sites of house demolitions.
The guide, which is available online, has been put together by Friends of Sabeel – North America (FOSNA) based in Jerusalem - a grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians.
The new guide provides a compilation of information about Holy Land trips including Sabeel's and those organized by FOSNA members, as well as many other agencies.
While most of the trips have a Christian focus, some are inter-faith and others involve secular Israeli peace organizations.
Many combine the traditional pilgrimage experience with fact-finding and meetings with Christians of the region.
The tours listed bear witness to life under occupation in the Palestinian territories: the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, the checkpoints, settlements, the Barrier Wall, refugee camps, and the demolition of homes. Some involve home stays or volunteer work.
Sabeel’s well-known international conferences and witness trips are included. Other trips are offered by groups such as Christian Peacemaker Teams, Interfaith Peace Builders, Global Exchange, the Society for Biblical Studies, Middle East Fellowship, and the Israel Committee Against House Demolition.
Sabeel's next international witness trip is scheduled for October 11-20 and will include visits to the holy sites around Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Galilee, and “exposure trips” to see "the political realities of life under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank."
Alternative travel in the Holy Land is the kind of touring that allows participants to meet the Palestinian people of the land, the “Living Stones” of Palestine. They return home with new eyes and a voice strengthened to speak out for justice and peace, say those producing the guide.
Sabeel will also host a unique event for young adults July 19-29, 2007, under the theme “40 Years in the Wilderness – 40 Years of Occupation.” Participants will visit Palestinian communities, celebrate Palestinian culture, undertake volunteer work, Bible study and advocacy.
For more information, see the web site: http://www.fosna.org