• View Mount of Temptation
• Hisham's Palace
• Palestinian village
- meet farmer
• Jordan Valley Solidarity
- meet activists
|Every Monday & Thursday|
|Length of Tour:||8 Hours|
|Tel Aviv Departure:||6.30 am - Hyarkon48 Hostel (map)|
|Jerusalem Departure||8.30 am - YMCA, King David Street (map)|
|Return||4.30pm to Jerusalem - 6pm to Tel Aviv|
|Cost:||From Jerusalem 385 NIS/Shekels
From Tel Aviv 485 NIS/Shekels
|Not including lunch, entrance fees • Bring your passport, a hat, walking shoes.|
As the group exits Jerusalem you'll pass through the huge suburban settlement of Pizgat Ze'ev (pop. 50,000+) checkpoints, sections of the Separation WALL. Just 10 minutes from the Center of Jerusalem, the differences between the rights of Jewish-Israelis in the settlement of Pizgat Ze'ev and the Muslim residents of the neighbouring Palestinian village of Hizma is quite profound. Your guide will elaborate on this.
Going north from Jerusalem past the fringes of the Judean desert on the right, you'll see a mix of Palestinian villages and Israeli settlements, including the communities of Ofra, Ein Yabrud, Turmas Aya, and Shilo, the site of Biblical Hebrew settlements and also modern day religious Zionists.
In the Central West Bank, Just past Shilo is the hilltop settlement of Ma'ale Levona, overlooking the Palestinian village of Luban e-Sharkiya in the valley. You'll stop there for tea with a Palestinian farmer whose family are custodians of an old Ottoman guest house with adjacent Spring at the bottom of Wadi (valley) Amuriya. With your guide translating you'll hear stories of the troubles that the family and their neighbors have gone through in trying to cope with their unruly neighbours in the settlements.
The tour continues north on route 60 to Tapuach Junction, then east on route 505 to the Jordan Valley with some spectacular scenery and viewpoints on the descent. You'll pass Al-Jiftlik then stop at Fasa'il village where you'll meet the activists of the Jordan Valley Solidarity organisation and learn of the challenges in that region - expanding settlements - land confiscations - home demolitions - and lack of water outside the settlements. You'll have lunch in Fasa'il before continuing to Jericho. If time permits there may also be a stop at the Friends of the Earth at the Auja EcoCenter to learn about their work with local Bedouin and villagers.
Modern Jericho is a sleepy town of about 15,000 people, and an outpost of the Palestinian Authority within an area over which Israel maintains firm control. You'll see the ancient excavated city, and view the the monastery on the Mount of Temptation. You'll also visit Hisham's Palace, built in the 8th century during the Umayyad empire. Jericho is one of the oldest excavated cities on the planet, dating back over 10,000 years. The local springs created an oasis in the otherwise arid Jordan Valley, and formed the basis for the successive settlements there. On departing Jericho you'll pass the luxurious Casino/hotel built by President Arafat, with a squalid refugee camp across the street.