Length: 3 hours
Departing Jerusalem at: 14.00 (2pm)
Gate Cafe at Damascus Gate - see map
Cost: Shekels NIS 220
Includes a cup of coffee or tea, or a bottle of water.
Learn about the facts on the ground in East Jerusalem. Visit settlements and Palestinian neighborhoods. This tour is intended for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, to go a little beyond the 'Them and Us' discourse, and to learn from a guide who has in-depth knowledge of the issues and an alternative perspective. The tour begins with a detailed briefing illustrated with maps.
You'll drive up the 'seam line' road that separates east and west Jerusalem, passing the settlement neighborhood of French Hill, turning onto Route 1 then along a segment of route 443, passing several settlements and the ghetto Palestinian neighborhood of Bir Naballah which is completely surrounded by a wall. Route 443 slices through the western side of the Palestinian Beit Hanina neighborhood where house demolitions are a common occurrence.
Passing the main checkpoint into Jerusalem the tour continues to pick up additional participants from Ramallah at the forbidding Kalandia Checkpoint, the only 'legal' way that Palestinians with permits can enter Jerusalem from the north. The adjacent 8-meter high concrete separation barrier divides the neighborhoods of Kufr Akab and Ar-Ram which are part of the Jerusalem municipality.
From there the bus travels through the Palestinian neighborhoods of Ar-Ram and Beit Hanina to the largest Jerusalem settlement, Pizgat Za'ev. There is a brief stop at the Palestinian village of Anata surrounded by the Wall, to view the 'Fabric of Life' (Arabs only) roads being built. Then you'll drive into the Judean desert to the main Jerusalem/Dead Sea highway and drive through Ma'aleh Adumim, one of the largest settlements (pop. 35,000) in the West Bank, visit the outlying outposts of the town, and learn about the displacement of the local Jahalin Bedouin. There's a lookout point in Ma'ale Adumim where you'll have a panoramic view back to Jerusalem, and the 'E1' planning zone that is planned to be filled with new settlement neighborhoods and tourist hotels.
From there the tour returns towards Jerusalem on Route 1, which parallels the segregated Palestinian road that eventually will enable the Israeli government to deny access to the 'Israeli only' roads that connect the settlements to Jerusalem.
Throughout the tour your guide will give descriptions and analysis of the impact of the Jewish settlements on the nearby Palestinian neighborhoods, and place the discourse within the context of the re-framing briefing provided during the first part of the tour.
There will be opportunities for questions and discussion during the tour. Be prepared for many of your preconceptions about the conflict to be challenged.
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