Participant’s reflections on the tree planting program

Category: JAI Programs Ex-Participants Created: 31 July 2014

Annelies wsBy: Annelies Lotteke – Belgium – participant at the Olive Planting Program 2014

The tree planting programme was an important experience for me: the beginning of my love for the unique country of Palestine and its people. Most important thing I learned during the trip is that there is a very big difference between knowing and seeing. You can know there is an injustice, or you can hear the stories from the people, walk the streets of the refugee camps and meet the settlers and the soldiers. The programme combines guided visits to the important cities of the West Bank, with planting trees on Palestinian fields (in which the army does a great job helping prove that Israel is not "the only democracy in the Middle East", by showing up every time) with lectures on the situation.

Even though feeling powerless is inevitable, I think helping plant the fields contributes to the struggle in the best way we can. It means resisting in a peaceful manner, and learning a lot on the situation in order to spread more awareness at home. Ever since this trip, Palestine is constantly in my head and in my heart and I would recommend it to everybody.