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.