<         Report Four: Bil'in and Beyond      >    

November 9 -10, 2010
Bil’in and Tel Aviv

We invite delegation participants to comment on and react to the experiences they have during our Israel/Palestine delegations in written Trip Reports

Individual delegates contribute pieces to these reports.  As such, reports are not comprehensive accounts of every meeting or experience, but impressions of those things that most impact individuals.  Trip reports to not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Peace-Builders, trip leaders, or delegation partner organizations.  We hope you enjoy reading and we encourage you to share these reports with others.


A poetic response to Bil’in

God sees. Bassem killed
at close range at real
wailing wall: Bil’in.

(Bassem Abu Ramah killed by a tear gas canister, at close range, by an Israeli soldier while protesting the wall at Bil’in.)

- Susanne Methven

Wheelchair victim of
Friday faithfulness
returns always.

(Iyad Burnat’s cousin shot through neck and paralyzed while protesting at Bil’in. He is now the photographer for each Friday’s non-violent events.)

- Jean Carr


If They Can Love…..

It is truly amazing to me how loving all the people have been especially in light of all that they’ve been through at the hands of the Israeli military. When I get home, I think that I shall scream if I here from one more American that all Palestinians are terrorists.

I have been now been to Bil’in and met Iyad Burnat who has been leading the nonviolent demonstrations every Friday for five years. We also had the privilege of meeting his cousin who joined us, in his motorized wheelchair, while we walked to the Wall.  He must now use this for the rest of his life after being shot in the neck by the Israeli Defense Forces three years ago. A nearly constant smile lit up his face.

I have yet to meet a Palestinian who is bitter and hopeless. Some are more hopeful than others that there will one day be peace, so if they can remain hopeful, then we must also.  We will have to work for change but mostly we must all learn to love one another and not hate, remembering that we are all one.

- Peggy Love


The Wild, Wild West?

We learned today of racism in Jewish society from Rafi Shubeli in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Kfar Shalem.  Mizrahi (of Arab origin) Jews have been discriminated against, severely, by Ashkenazi (European) Jews. I'm beginning to understand more and more how this Zionist state has lost its bearings as far as being liberal or democratic.  I feel the need to learn a little more before I write anything, but it seems obvious to me that racism has infected the whole project of a Jewish state, just as militarism has.

What I found far more encouraging was the visit to Bil'in to see the site and hear the story of the village's resistance to the Wall.  Nonviolence has a strong Palestinian history. Then today we heard the stories of bereaved families on both sides working with each other.  And today most of all I was delighted to be at New Profile and hear of their work with young people who do not want to go into the army. The refusers are an important part of this story.   
Israel felt to me today like the Wild, Wild West of nineteenth century America.  The US is not helping to civilize the situation at all with the 3 billion dollars in military aid sent to Israel every year.  Armaments are the last thing anybody needs here.

- Jim Clune

What I Saw, Smelt, Felt….

So, I have always heard that Palestinians were terrorists…….

This is what I saw, smelled, felt, and concluded from our day in Bil’in, a Palestinian village in the West Bank. We went to a gentleman’s home. Before we arrived we stood outside on top of a hill and walked to the “Security wall”, which is really a Separation wall. It separates the Israelis from the Palestinians to try to drive these humans with feelings out of their rightfully owned land. As we walked toward the temporary wall I saw hundreds of tear gas bombs, actually clusters of them, I smelled the burnt olive trees, I saw the burnt ground and holes in the rock charred by the Israeli military.

The villagers have gotten a court order pushing the temporary wall back and ultimately will hopefully get their land back permanently. The nonviolent protesters are Palestinian, but more so they are human beings, just like you and me. I saw battered people and resilient at the same time….ironic? Burnt busted rock and rubble everywhere from the demolitions, a brother’s grave of his own brother, under Israeli surveillance 24/7/365 and an Israeli jeep approached and we couldn’t get any closer. As we left the area the Israeli jeep retreated…..I felt like a dirty Jew and a dirty American and …….now I can let that go. I can let it go because it is not ME; it is a political problem that has got to stop….NOW!!!!! It is a bunch of brainwashed bullies trained to terrorize humankind who do not deserve to be treated with such injustice, indignity, humiliation and degradation and yet the Palestinian people and other nonviolent humans from all over the world keep coming back every Friday to protest peacefully this type of treatment. Ponder that for a while………Just close your eyes and imagine what they feel like……..

- Patrice Cohen


A sampling of memorable quotes (or near quotes) from our wonderful and challenging presenters:

“Why doesn’t Israel want to be the 51st state?  Because then they’d only have two senators.” Jeff Halper (ICAHD)

“To most Israelis, the Occupied Territories are as close as Thailand.” Jeff Halper

“Humans have the right not to be degraded.” Jeff Halper

“Israel and Palestine are operating on the “We’ll behave if they behave” notion.  NO, they should look at themselves first.” John Ging (UNRWA)

“What you would see if you could go to Gaza?  It’s not a crazy place.  But 90% of the water is undrinkable.  80 million liters of sewage is going into the sea each day due to the disrepair.” John Ging

“Human development is cheaper than military actions and more effective in the war against terror.” John Ging

“When you stop seeing the other as human, you stop being human yourself.”   Nomika Zion, activist in Sderot.

“I was willing to pay the price of social isolation but not willing to pay the price of silence.” Nomika Zion

“The full expression of Judaism is in the Land.” Jonathan, Hebrew University student and Israeli soldier

“Our only enemy is the occupation.  It’s not the Jews.” National Committee to Resist Deportation

“As you like!”   19year old Ahmed, Palestinian Muslim in Jenin district, demonstration Arab hospitality.

“Those who make peace impossible make violence inevitable. “  Graffiti on wall at Balata Refugee Camp)

“Abnormal conditions lead to abnormal behaviors.”  Zougbi Zougbi, Director of Wi’am Conflict Resolution Center

“Transform religion to be a source of justice — not just lip service of priests.”  Zougbi Zougbi

“Empower the weak and bring the strong to their senses” Zoughbi Zoughbi, describing his mission

“Israel was not created by non-violence but for us (Palestinians), it’s a last resort.” Zougbi Zoughbi

“From my house in Beit Jala, I can hear the sounds of road building and of Wall building — both funded by the US.” Dan Kosti, Holy Land Trust

“Never forget that a person doesn’t make a movement; a movement makes a purpose.  And leaders will emerge.” Clayborne Carson  (quoted by Dan Kosti Holy Land Trust)

“I have papers from God.”  Israeli settler arguing for eviction of Daher’s Vineyard, Tent of Nations, while the family holds property papers going back to the Ottoman era, quoted by Amal at Tent of Nations

- Ann Hayles



Nothing better prepares activists to work on the conflict than eyewitness experience. Your donation will further the education and engagement of new participants and build a larger, more diverse movement! Click here to donate online!

Would you give an hour each month towards peace with justice in Israel/Palestine? If so, join IFPB's Hour-A-Month Program and donate an hour of your salary each month for peace in the Middle East. Click here to donate monthly!


Your participation as an eyewitness will enrich your understanding of the conflict and empower your work back in the United States! Click here for information on upcoming delegations.

WIN A $1000 SCHOLARSHIP FOR A 2011 SUMMER DELEGATION: Students interested in joining a summer 2011 delegation can apply for one of two $1000 scholarships offered this year only. Smaller awards may also be available.  Click here for more information and an application (DEADLINE: January 28, 2011).


Select a report to view: Announcement | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Action