Monday, 16 April 2007

Landmarks on the ‘Without a road map’ tour

The plans for my trip are really taking shape and it looks like I’ve got a hectic time ahead. Some landmarks to look forward to include:

Road to Jerusalem
My trip will take me to Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Pardes Hana, Galilee and the Golan, Jerusalem, Ramallah and el-Khalil/Hebron.

The real McCohen!
Penetrating deep into ‘hostile’ territory, your intrepid journalist will stay for some days with several generations of a ‘real’ Israeli family in a small town not far from Tel Aviv. And they have stated it as their express mission to show me the human and peaceful face of Zionism. They also want to see Israel through me eyes.

Meeting the peacemongers
I will meet a number of prominent Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, including that ‘godfather of shalom’, the veteran activist and writer Uri Avnery. I will also meet representatives of Gush Shalom, the Panorma Centre, the Peres Peace Centre, an Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGOs Forum, a group of refusniks called Yesh Gvul, and much more.

Visions of the future
Too much of the conflict is about letting the past paralyse the present. I will ask ordinary Israelis and Palestinians about their personal visions for a peaceful future.

Life under occupation
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. I will visit Ramallah and el-Khalil (Hebron) to see how ordinary people lead their lives.

Oasis of peace in the valley of conflict
Neve Shalom/Wahet el-Salam (Peace Oasis) is an experimental community where Palestinians and Israelis live side-by-side in the same community, are educated together and work together. It provides an alternative vision of what Israel-Palestine may one day be like. I am currently arranging a visit.

Journos and Jerusalem
No busman’s holiday would be complete without meeting up with fellow hacks from various wire services and newspapers. They will include Guardian columnist Seth Freedman and Alex Stein, the founder of False Dichotomies.


IsrealiMom said...

Hey, congratulations on the new blog!

You have an impressive list there of people you're going to meet. Looking forward to seeing you here!

deb said...

Hey! Where's the part about how you'll sample wines in scenic Zichron Yaakov?

By the way, A (IM) is my neighbor. I assume she is of the 'authentic Israeli family.' My family is not so authentic, but we'd be happy to show you around also. And can I tag along when you do cool stuff?

Khaled Diab said...

Oops, I missed that one out! But that sounds like a fine plan,too, Deb.

You assume correctly re the identity of my mystery hosts. And of course you can show me around, if you have the time, and tag along - the more, the merrier.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for going. But you would be making a very serious mistake if your trip did not include a day in Tel Aviv. The majority of Israelis live on the coastal plain and Tel Aviv is a secular young city which reflects the outlook of very many Israelis.

Jerusalem is a divided city, the fault line of the conflict, but it is Israel at its most intense and disturbed.

You might want to check out Linda Grant's recent book: The People on the Street: A Writer's View of Israel which focuses on Tel Aviv through the eyes of ordinary Israelis.

Khaled Diab said...

Anonymous, thank you for the encouragement and the book recommendation. I should point out that I will, in fact, be landing in Tel Aviv and know people there, so it is on my itinerary.

rina said...

Hi Khaled,

Just wanted to wish you bon voyage. I, too, am very interesting in seeing the Zionist entity through your eyes :D

Khaled Diab said...

Thanks, Rina, I'll make sure to share my eye-witness account with you. And, by the sounds of things, hardcore 'Zionist' may be the operative word for the first couple of days of my trip, as it's going to be the independence celebrations. It'll be surreal, methinks!

holy land tours said...

Hi Khaled! I hope that your visit went well... I can't tell you how envy I am of you... even though I come from a different perspective... I wan't to see the holy places (for all religions) and learn more about this land...