Length of tour: 4-5 hours
Departure Times & Locations:
Tel Aviv 08.30 (Arlozorov Station - Sixt Car Rental near station entrance)
Hertzliya Pituach 09.00 (Sharon Square - near the rainbow)
Ra'anana 09.30 (Yad Lebanin bus stop on Ahuza St.)
Cost: Shekels NIS 275
This tour covers a wide swath of the Central West Bank but does not enter Area 'A' which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Israelis may come on this tour since military regulations permit travel the West Bank within area 'C' which is under Israeli military and civilian control. International tourists are, of course, also invited.
The route of the tour will give participants an overview of the development of the central (Sharon) region of the country in addition to developing an understanding of the mechanisms through which Israel retains control over most of the territory captured during the 1967 six-day war.
Beginning in Tel Aviv, the tour travels north to Hertzliya, then east to Ra'anana, picking up participants en-route. There will then be a pause for a briefing and an opportunity to look at some maps of the region that illustrate the complexity of the situation in the West Bank.
Continuing east, the tour will stop at Kalkiliya and take a look at the Separation Barrier and the surrounding area, discussing the impact of the Barrier on the residents of Kalkiliya and the nearby villages. Kalkiliya lost much of it's land to the Israeli city of Kfar Saba after 1948 and today is losing more land that is west of the separation Barrier. Palestinian wells and water resources are also now firmly under Israel's control, with allocations of water for Israeli settlers far out of proportion to their numbers.
Continuing east on route 55, the group will see many settlements and Palestinian villages in close proximity, divided by the Separation Barrier, and additional fences, barriers, and checkpoints. The impact on the Palestinian villagers is profound, destroying their economic, social and cultural life.
The tour will travel to route 60 and stop at the Huwara checkpoint to Nablus, but not entering the city. Until mid 2010, Nablus residents were not permitted to drive through the checkpoint and suffered length delays traveling out of the area
From the Nablus Checkpoint the tour will loop around to Ariel, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank, with all the amenities of a modern city. From Ariel the bus will travel on route 5, a 4-lane Highway due west into Israel and see how easy it is for residents of Ariel, in the heart of the West Bank, to feel they are living in a suburb of Tel Aviv, just 25 minutes away by car.
Discussion will be encouraged en-route. Lively debates sometimes occur on this tour, and all participants are asked to be respectful of divergent points of view. Please wear modest clothing, and bring your passport or Israeli ID card.