To Be There offers a program to visit Palestine and volunteer with Palestinian farmers on the land during the rainy season, the best time to plant trees. We will be planting olive trees during three days of the program. The other days we will discover Palestine through excursions and meetings with Palestinian human rights organizations. This form of alternative tourism in solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle for justice and equality is highly appreciated by the locals. We want you to learn about the reality of life under Israeli military occupation, but we also want you to enjoy Palestinian culture and traditions, food, music and the beautiful nature.
Why do we plant olive trees?
The Palestinian culture has been inspired by olive trees – a people with resilience similar to that of the trees which endure Palestine’s 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 to this day. As a part of a systematic program to eliminate Palestinian identity and their presence on the land, the Israeli authorities, including the Israeli government, military, and the Israeli settler colonialists, 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 organized an annual olive tree planting visit to Palestine. This program 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 harasments, 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. But we can also expect sunny days and find ourselves working on the land in t-shirts with short sleeves. So bring a bit of everything!
Suggested Schedule (Please not that the program might have minor changes due to circumstances)
|Day One||January 26||Arrival and meet the To Be There guides and other participants; introduction to the program|
|Day two||January 27||An introductory tour of the district of Bethlehem to learn about Israeli policies of control of oppression of Palestinians|
|Day Three||January 28||First day of tree planting with a Palestinian family|
|Day Four||January 29||Visit the Old City of Jerusalem for a reality tour. Followed by a visit to the ruins of the depopulated town of Lifta including with a guide who will talk about the ongoing displacement of Palestinians since 1948 (known as the Nakba)|
|Day Five||January 30||Second day of tree planting with a Palestinian family|
|Day Six||January 31||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 factory|
|Day Seven||February 1||Visit to the city of Nablus in the north of the Westbank|
|Day Eight||February 2||Third day of tree planting with free time in the afternoon|
|Day Nine||February 18||Departure|
We will have several lectures during afternoons or evenings regarding the political situation and human rights focused on the Palestinian case.
The fee for this visit is $1,000 (US Dollars) per person.
Fees will cover
- Accommodation in a hotel on twin bases (you can request for a single room for an additional price)
- 3 meals a day
- Guides present at all times
- Fees for lecturers and guest speakers
- Transportation inside the West Bank and on the days designated for visits to Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus
- A portion of the fees will be used for the purchase of sapling trees we will be planting
Fees will not cover – please note:
- Fees do not cover the airport transfer or transportation from and to the Jordan boarder. You can either organize it yourself or request us for help. We can advice you on public transportation or arrange a private taxi for you to pick you up and take you straight to the hotel.
- Fees do not cover any travel or medical insurance. You will be responsible for organizing 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.
- 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. We will send you a link to an online registration form.
SEE YOU IN PALESTINE!