Field Trip 1 — Half-day hike from Beit Jala to Battir: This half-day hike starts in Beit Jala and will take us to the small village of Battir; a UNESCO world heritage site due to its many springs, pools, Roman water systems, gardens and ancient terraces that have been in use for thousands of years. Just a few hours walk from the Bethlehem area our hike will take us down the Wadi al-Makhrour valley through unforgettable landscape featuring olive groves, wildflowers and vineyards.
Once at Battir, we will explore a bit of the village, including the historic Jerusalem-Jaffa railway line; learn about the issues facing the area and enjoy Palestinian refreshments.
Field Trip 2 – A visit to Hebron and Tent of Nations/Nassar Farm:
Al Khalil, as Hebron is called in Arabic, means ‘The Friend of God.’ In ancient times, it was known as Mamre and Kirjath Arba (‘the town of four,’ referring to its position on four hills). Hebron has been continuously settled for 5,000 years and is regarded as holy by the three monotheistic faiths because the prophet Abraham is believed to be buried there. The second largest city in the West Bank, Hebron’s souq (market) sells everything from pottery, embroidery, jewelry, olivewood and glass, to fresh and dried fruits. Hebron is also known for its traditional crafts of glass and pottery making.
Hebron is the only Palestinian city with Israeli settlements in the heart of it. 170,000 Palestinians and over 600 settlers live in Hebron and the military presence directly controls 20% of the city. Hundreds of soldiers and policemen are in charge of protecting the settlers and enforcing an odd mix of Israeli and military law. As a result, Hebron is a particularly compelling picture of the Occupation.
In Hebron you’ll visit Abraham’s Tomb at the Ibrahimi mosque, and have the opportunity to enter both the Mosque on the Muslim side, and the synagogue on the Jewish side as well as explore the occupation “up close” by walking through the epicenter of it.
Following our visit to Hebron, we will stop at Nassar Farm/Tent of Nations and learn about the issues surrounding this family’s long legal battle against the surrounding settlements to retain ownership of their property. We will have opportunity to debrief from our day in the peaceful farm.