Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Alternative Travel Opportunities

Alternative travel in the Holy Land provides an added benefit to pilgrimage by connecting you with the Living Stones of Palestine who live under military occupation. Visit the holy Christian sites, worship in ancient Palestinian Christian churches, walk where Jesus walked and bear witness to the realities of occupation - military checkpoints, refugee camps, Israel's Apartheid Wall, bypass roads, illegal settlements and more.

Alternative Tourism Group in Beit Sahour, West Bank - - has published Palestine & Palestinians: A Guidebook (ISBN No. 9950-319-011-3). It is a professionally produced and very attractive book of more than 400 pages that goes beyond the scope of other guides for travelers. Palestine & Palestinians: A Guidebook provides a very detailed history of the area, as well as information on the contemporary situation. The book is illustrated with color and black/white photos and, of course, maps of all sorts. In quality it equals any traditional guidebook. Take a look at the ATG website: The book is $30 and may be ordered at Palestine Online Store.

Travel listing:

Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) - August 1-12
Witness life under occupation and gain a greater understanding of the history and politics of Palestine and Israel. $1,800 - airfare not included. Contact Deborah Agre: 510-548-0542 or

MECA trips generally include visits such as Ibdaa Cultural Center in the Dheisheh refugee camp; Lid, a mixed Palestinian and Jewish town near Tel Aviv; the destroyed village of Liftah; Israeli-Jewish activists and scholars; a Bedouin village in Israel and organizers who are fighting forced removal; unrecognized villages; young Israeli refusniks, who will not serve in the Israeli army; the Palestinian Counseling Center whose projects help families and communities cope with the psychological impact of the occupation; the grassroots anti-apartheid wall campaign tour of affected rural areas; Old City of Jerusalem and surrounding areas that are threatened or confiscated.

Middle East Children's Alliance
web: http://www.mecaforpeace.or g

Global Exchange, Prospects for Peace with Justice
August 12 - 22, 2007
Dec. 2 - 12, 2007
For details, see

Birthright Unplugged - August 20-25
Six-day educational trip through the West Bank to visit Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps, designed to put you in conversation with people and equip you to return to your community and work for change. While Birthright Unplugged is designed primarily for Jewish people, we welcome people of all backgrounds and all ages on our trips.

For more information about itinerary, costs, trip leaders, and application materials, visit

Micah Bazant, summer '06 Unplugged participant, says: "Through Birthright Unplugged I met some of the most amazing, heroic and inspiring people I've ever met in my life. I felt my politics about Israel and Palestine were set before I went on the trip, but experiencing it first-hand made me understand the realities of occupation and resistance so much more deeply. The program gave me new perspective and renewed passion to work for justice in Palestine and at home in the U.S. It was truly a life-changing experience."

Sabeel International Witness Trip October 11-20, 2007
For detailed information go to
The year 2007 to 2008 provides a framework for highlighting the ongoing Palestinian catastrophe: 90 years since the Balfour Declaration, 60 years since the Nakba and the founding of the state of Israel, 40 years of Occupation, 25 years since Sabra/Shatila, 20 years since the First Intifada, 5 years of the Apartheid Wall. The Sabeel Fall Witness Visit offers a window into the daily lives of Palestinians living under the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as well as into the experiences of second-class citizenship of Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. Meet with Palestinian Christian and Muslim leaders of civic and religious organizations as well as with Israeli Jewish advocates for justice. Learn the stories of Palestinian Christians, share the worship that sustains their faith, and engage with Sabeel in promoting justice via liberation theology.

Cost: $900 per person; $180 single supplement; included - all accommodations and meals for 10 nights plus all ground transportation and honoraria/fees for sites and groups visited; not included - airfare, transfers to/from the airport, and additional nights in hotels. Travel arrangements: Contact Johnny Khano, GUIDING STAR, e-mail or phone

Middle East Task Force of Chicago Presbytery's Travel Seminar
Oct. 15 - Nov. 4, 2007
This seminar will go to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. For details, contact Pauline Coffman at - tel. 708-524-5444.

Christian Peacemaker Teams - delegations:
October 16 - 28, 2007
November 19 - December 1, 2007
Contact Claire Evans, the CPT Coordinator for Delegations,
at or telephone 773.277.0253

Group Travel Directors:
Holy Land visits by US church groups listed here are arranged by Group Travel Directors, Minneapolis. Meetings with indigenous Christians plus Israeli and Palestinian peace groups, as well as biblical -site visits, are included. Prices are from cities cited (other US departure points available). For details on Group Travel tours, go to - click "Find a Tour," enter "2007," then "Middle East."

Oct. 29 - Nov. 10: "Faces, Spaces and Places of the Holy Land," co-sponsored by Metropolitan Washington Synod, ELCA, and Bright Stars of Bethlehem NFP. Hosted by Rev. J. Lowell Knauff; $3050 from Washington Dulles (other departure cities available). Contact Janet Tollund at GTD: 952-885-2133 or 800-747-2255, Ex. 133.

Nov. 1-12, Holy Land Olive Harvest & Pilgrimage. Includes olive harvesting at Lutheran property on Mt. of Olives, historic sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Galilee, Jericho, Qumran, plus time with Palestinian Lutherans and visits to areas marked by checkpoints, the Wall, Israeli settlements. Approx. $2600 from MSP. Led by Pr. Curtis Zieske (Trinity Lutheran, Albert Lea), knowledgeable veteran of four pilgrimages. More info:

Nov. 7-16, Bethlehem 2007. Sponsored by Presbytery of Ohio, with special focus on Bethlehem-area Christians. $2275 from Indianapolis or Louisville.

Jan. 3-19, 2008, The World of the Bible: Ancient Sites and Current Struggles in the Holy Land, sponsored by Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, led by Dr. Ann Fritschel, associate professor of Hebrew Bible. $3025 from Chicago.

Walk the Green Line - Nov. 27-29, 2007
A three-day experience that will make a direct contribution to supporting the efforts of Israelis and Palestinians who are working for peace. Walk the green line - - is a fundraising walk-a-thon and a political act whose purpose is to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN decision to partition Israel/Palestine into two states - one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians. Israelis, Palestinians and international participants will trek for three days along the route of the Green Line demarcating the border between Israeli and Palestinian territory. .

Walk the Green Line will support the work of IPCRI - the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information - - a joint Israeli-Palestinian peace center and think-tank in Jerusalem bringing Israelis and Palestinians together in people-to-people programs that advance peace. Each participant will be required to raise 2,000 pounds or $2,500 plus their airfare to Israel/Palestine. Sponsors may be friends, family, work colleagues, neighbors, churches or synagogues, etc.

More than just a Walk, each day will feature educational-political programs as well, stopping to learn about the areas where we are walking, meeting people along the way including Israelis and Palestinians who are working for peace. We will see first hand the Israeli security barrier - both fences and walls - with a special focus on the wall in Jerusalem. For more information:

Western Mission Cluster of the ELCA - Jan. 14-29, 2008
Holy Land - Its Prayers, Peoples, Places: Go where prayers come from Muslims, Jews, Christians. Witness first-hand the faiths in their poignant praying for peace. View the struggle among Palestinian and Israeli peoples with varied histories and cultures, and hear their hopes. Visit ancient religious places; experience present geo-political realities; imagine possible futures. As Christians we will offer our own prayers; as peoples of quite different histories we'll reflect on our own cultural tendencies; as citizens from different places we'll encounter our own global responsibilities. Cost: $2,925 from Minneapolis. Leader: Prof. Gary Simpson, Luther Seminary: - phl: 651-641-3253. The Western Mission Cluster of the ELCA is a collaborative organization funded jointly by Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California.

Interfaith Peace-Builders
2007 Olive Harvest Delegation to Israel/Palestine - Oct. 27-Nov. 10, Olive Harvest Delegation. Sponsored by Interfaith Peace-Builders and American Friends Service Committee. Cost $1850. Details: 202-244-0821 or email:

This year, the AFSC is again working with Interfaith Peace Builders to provide a first hand look at the realities of daily life in Israel/Palestine. In addition to helping with the olive harvest, delegates will also meet Palestinian and Israeli activists and peacemakers to hear and discuss many different perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and hopes for the future.

Interfaith Peace-Builder leaders bring a wide range of knowledge, perspectives, and expertise to our delegations. Since 2001, Interfaith Peace-Builders has led 19 delegations and almost 250 people to Israel and Palestine. Our delegates have returned to undertake speaking, writing, and organizing to educate others about their experiences. Formerly a program of Fellowship of Reconciliation, IFPB continues to work in close partnership with FOR.

The cost includes: 15 days, hotel and home stay accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, local transportation, guides, speaker/event fees, basic tips and gratuities,not include domestic and international airfares. Deadline to Apply: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until September 10, 2007. Apply early to reserve a space.

Upcoming Delegations in 2008:
March 22 - April 5, 2008
May 24 - June 7, 2008
For information call 244-0821 or e-mail -

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Autumn Study Tour to Israel and Palestine - November 4-13, 2007.
Participate in this unique tour that allows participants to glean in-depth information about the situation on the ground; meet key players on both sides of the divide who work for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Return home as eye-witnesses and the authority to speak with first-hand knowledge. Cost includes direct flights with British Airways, transportation to and from Ben Gurion Airport, hotel accommodation including bed, breakfast and evening meal, tips, the full tour itinerary and material for tour preparation and de-briefing.

For the full itinerary and application form, please contact or call the ICAHD UK office on 020 7383 3893.

The Society for Biblical Studies
The Exodus Experience, departs November 7, 2007. To get updates by paper newsletter or email, call 781-641-4453 or send an email to:

Holy Land Olive Harvest & Pilgrimage - November 1-12
Visit includes olive harvesting at Lutheran property on Mt. of Olives, historic sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Galilee, Jericho, Qumran, plus time with Palestinian Lutherans and side trips to areas marked by checkpoints, the Wall, Israeli settlements. Group limit: 12. Cost approx. $2600 from MSP. Leader: Pr. Curtis Zieske, Trinity Lutheran, Albert Lea. Zieske is a knowledgeable veteran of four pilgrimages. Details:

United Theological Seminary - January 8-22, 2008
Dr. David Watson, The Rev. Dr. Gary Olin
15 Day Intercultural Program Experience including Jordan, Israel, the West Bank.
For information:

Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation
See the web page for general information:
HCEF Pilgrimage/Fact Finding Missions

January 8 - 21, 2008
Ecumenical Pilgrimage/Fact Finding Mission organized by HCEF.

February 2 - 15, 2008
Pilgrimage/Fact Finding Mission organized by First Presbyterian Church in Boulder, Colorado.

May 7 - May, 2008
Pilgrimage/Fact Finding Mission organized by Fr. Alex Kratz, O.F.M in Detroit, Michigan

June 2008 (Dates TBD)
Pilgrimage/Fact Finding Mission organized by St. Andrew Catholic Church in Milford, Ohio

For more information contact: Gail Freeman, Pilgrimage Coordinator
Toll free at 1-871-4234

United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries
Study program in the Holy Land, scheduled for February 3-15, 2008.

This alternative travel list is a service of Friends of Sabeel-North America. If you know of other trips coming up, please send details to:

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