Testimonies

Going on the trip was eye-opening and inspiring for me.  Instead of reading about the situation I witnessed it and thus got a sense of the suffering and pain caused by an apartheid system, ethnic cleansing, the wall and the many injustices occurring on a daily basis.   Great too that we met leaders/activists from both sides of the divide.  The trip was expertly organised with many new friendships being formed.   Images from my time away have stayed with me and my only wish now is to do a return trip – some day I definitely will. (Mary, 50, NGO worker)

The trip made it possible for me to go and see first-hand what was happening in Israel and Palestine. The range of speakers and groups we met gave us an idea of the different aims and perspectives at work.  The people on the trip were extremely friendly and interesting.  There was no problem travelling alone. I’d highly recommend the trip to anyone who is interested in the region. (Roshin, civil servant, Dublin)

Elaine is an amazing tour organiser who brings together speakers with widely opposing views so that those on the tour get a fuller understanding of all the issues. We met an Israeli Government spokesperson as well as Jewish Human Rights activists, checkpoint monitors, a representative from the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, in addition to Palestinian refugees and researchers. It was a very balanced tour with a knowledgeable Palestinian tour guide. Great to actually stay in Bethlehem which normally is only a day trip on other tours. I would recommend it wholeheartedly and it is very good value.  I also like the idea that we have contributed donations, as part of the tour cost, to the various NGOs that we visited. (Mary Kate, Co. Mayo)

My trip to Israel and Palestine in February in 2007 wasn’t my first, but certainly helped to deepen knowledge and insights about the situation and in particular the impact of the Occupation on the lives of ordinary Palestinians.  This trip has been part of a continuing commitment for myself which remains until today.  (Jane, 62, civil servant, South Wales)

I was very fearful about going to Palestine but felt it was my duty to understand what was happening there as I believe it involves us all and may be the cause of WW3. I was appalled – the persecution of the Palestinians and the compliance of the US opened my eyes to the real politics of the world. This trip awakened me politically. I am indebted to Elaine for organising the trip and admire her selfless activism. The trip was well organised. It was an immersion in a culture and Middle East politics that will remain with me forever. (Ian, psychologist, Dublin)

 I was on three trips-taught me more about the situation on the ground than all the books I have read. (David, retired teacher, Limerick)

 This was an experience like no other which provided an exceptional opportunity to understand the view point of two different communities living in one place. The trip gave me an amazing chance to see at firsthand the reality of life and move beyond my own preconceived notions. I would recommend it to anyone.  (Alan, Co. Mayo)

It really brought it home to me – more than any books could – the desperate plight of the Palestinians. (Jim, Teacher, Dublin)

There’s no substitute for getting the real side of media reports and seeing how things are for yourself – great experience. (Peter, Dublin)

The trip was so carefully organised on the basis of respect for the Palestinian people and enquiry of the Israeli position, that the entire eight days was full of powerful insights into the overall situation. The itinerary was also brave enough to expose our group to the reality of Palestinian life under the Israeli occupation. On a personal level, it has affirmed in me the obligation I have, to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and to make every effort possible to move them further down the road to freedom. (Tomás, Folklorist, Co. Clare)

I have long been interested and concerned about the situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. The opportunity to actually go there and see the situation for myself was invaluable. Hearing and seeing the accounts of people just getting on with their daily lives within the confines of one of the most politically and militarily artificial entities on the planet was one of the most moving experiences of my life. (Jim, mature student, Cork)

My most immediate memory, from my two trips, is of a woman from the organisation Sabeel, who spoke very movingly about her life in Jerusalem before 1948 when people lived together amicably and ‘used to exchange recipes for cookies’. (Mary, Dublin)

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