||Posted: June 07 2007,04:15
Eight Reasons to Join us in Palestine this Summer
1. You'll See The Situation Firsthand
There's only so much you can learn by watching the 6 o'clock news or reading history books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is why fact-finding missions to the Middle East are so important. Frequently, those who participate in Travel and Encounter programs describe their trips as "life-changing experiences." By visiting the region and seeing the situation firsthand, you will learn a tremendous amount about the daily life of Palestinians under Occupation. You'll also have the opportunity to meet with Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers: people who have devoted their lives to bringing peace with justice to the Holy Land.
2. You'll Serve As A Witness For Peace
Palestinians who have suffered through more than thirty years of Occupation often feel that the world has abandoned them. As more and more of their land is confiscated, more and more of their homes are demolished and more and more of their citizens are killed they wonder: why is no one standing up for us in the world community? This is why some Palestinians are cheered by the presence of international witnesses for peace, who are willing to live among Palestinians and learn from them. It reminds them that there are still people in the international community who believe that Palestinians should be able to live with freedom, peace, security and independence. It helps bring a small amount of hope into a situation that has caused an enormous amount of suffering.
3. You'll Support The Palestinian Economy
According to a BBC report, the Palestinian economy lost 22,000 jobs in the first half of 2004. Closures and checkpoints, both of which halt or slow business and trade, have helped cripple the Palestinian economic sector. Those Palestinians who rely on tourism--such as hotel owners, gift shop owners, craft makers or artisans, and tour guides--have also been hard hit. The Palestine Summer Encounter will not be a lavish or expensive trip, but it will bring some much needed funds into Palestine.
4. You'll Learn Arabic In An Arabic-Speaking Country
It's very hard to learn a foreign language if you don't have access to native speakers. The best way to learn Arabic is to immerse yourself in an Arabic-speaking culture. This way, you're sure to be able to practice the Arabic skills you learn outside of the classroom.
5. You'll Gain Crucial Skills As A Volunteer
As a volunteer in a foreign country, you're certain to develop many valuable skills. In addition to the types of skills you would develop by working for any nonprofit or humanitarian group, you'll develop important skills in the area of cross-cultural communication. It'll also make a great addition to any resume.
6. The Food Is Excellent
Seriously, if you're not already familiar with Arabic cooking, you're in for a treat. The Arabic speaking world is famous for its great cuisine and its unparalleled hospitality!
7. You Can Get College Credit
The Arabic class is taught through the Bethlehem Bible College. Check with your university or college advisor beforehand to discuss transferability in terms of units. Additionally, many industrious students can find ways to earn additional units through independent studies and student projects. (Note: the Palestine Summer Encounter is open to all ages and not just for students!)
8. You'll Be Able To Share Your Experiences With Others
Most people, regardless of their cultural or political perspectives, are interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unfortunately, despite their interest, most people are not receiving very good information about what is actually happening on the ground in Palestine and Israel. By sharing your experiences from the Palestine Summer Encounter with others, you can help your friends and family learn more about the current situation in the Middle East. Additionally, Middle East Fellowship and Holy Land Trust are eager to help prepare participants for interviews with local newspapers and radio programs if they are interested in sharing their experiences with a wider audience.
Elias S. D'eis
Holy Land Trust
Travel & Encounter - Program Coordinator
Cell: + 972-599-945148
www.holylandtrust.org / www.pnn.ps