The JAI had organized a visit for a group of 13 people from a Christian Student Group (Evangelischen StudierendenGemeinden - ESG) in Germany who arrived Wednesday 30th of March, and until the 7th of April 2016. The group were eager to begin their trip around Palestine. Their trip was packed full of speakers and tours that JAI had organized in collaboration with various NGO's. Theses tours were aimed at giving the group an insight into what it was like to be living under occupation. Some had more knowledge of the conflict then others but all had genuine interest in understanding the complex life of the Palestinians. After a brief introduction with the group it was clear that the level of commitment to gaining a true understanding of the conflict was clear when everyone agreed to be at the Jerusalem checkpoint for 05:30 am the following morning, despite their lack of sleep the previous night.
The vast range of tours and activities throughout the week were incredibly insightful and the frequent open conversations were of great help for the group to voice their opinions and solve any unresolved questions that might be sitting uncomfortable in peoples' heads.
The range of tours and activities allowed the group to witness first- hand what it is like when living under occupation. The activities and tours ranged from planting olive trees and listening to farmers stories, witnessing a busy checkpoint early morning to gain some level of understanding what Palestinians have to go through on a daily bases living under occupation and visiting a Palestinian women's home to listen to her story. The group also had time to visit numerous churches including the Nativity Church Bethlehem and the Church of Beatitudes which is located by sea of Galilee.
On the last evening of the groups visit JAI staff joined the group to eat together in a local restaurant. This was the perfect way to end the trip with the group as we were all able to sit and discuss everyone's experiences throughout the week. The group seemed content but most importantly seemed willing to advocate in Germany for the Palestinians human rights and freedom from occupation.