YMCA-YWCA Witness Visit

A program in Palestine and Israel organized by the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine, where they invite international YMCA and YWCA national and local General Secretaries, board members, executive directors and senior staff to take part.

The purpose of the Witness Visit is for participants to learn about the Palestinians' situation, meet with representatives of government, churches and civil society organizations and find ways in which the YMCA and YWCA movements can act for a just peace.

Further objective is to get to know the work of the YWCA of Palestine and East Jerusalem YMCA and discuss possible partnering projects.

A goal of the visit is also to live and experience the social life and culture of the Holy Land

The YWCA-YMCA Witness Visit in Palestine 2014

Category: YMCA-YWCA Witness Visit
Created: 28 September 2014

WV2014 1tSee more photos of the visit

37 international leaders, staff and representative of various YMCAs, YWCAs, and some partner organizations worldwide have joined the Witness Visit in Palestine, from the 26th to the 28th of September 2014.

On Friday the 26th, their visit included guided tour in Hebron an its old city, to witness settlements' activities outside and inside the old city, settlers' attacks, checkpoints, road blocks, and closed streets for Palestinians inside the markets. Following was a guided tour inside the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, after having lunch in its old city. Then the participants moved to Aida Refugee camp, where it was organized for them to meet with the volunteers of Lajee center, who presented to them the life in the camp and lead them into educational tours, in groups, inside the camp. After the camp, they moved to Crimesan monastery garden in Beit Jala, that is under high threat of confiscation by the Israelis to become on the other side of the apartheid wall. A service was held with all participants, calling for peace with justice in Palestine and the world.
WV2014 2tNext to Beit Jala, in the village of Al-Walaja, the participant were made to meet with one of the JAI Olive Tree Campaign farmers, Ahmad Barghouth, who explained about the threat he and his land face, how the Israeli army has uprooted hundreds of his old olive trees, and the Olive Tree Campaign trees and international visitors have supported him, and that he has hope in life. The day ended with dinner together in Beit Sahour.

On Saturday the 27th, the participants moved to Iqrit village in the north of "Israel" (Palestinian land occupied in 1948), where they visited the church and cemetery there, that are the only things remaining at the village after its inhabitants of 616 people were displacement in 1948 and destruction of houses. It was explained to the participants that inhabitants were refused to get back to their village and re-build their houses. They still want and hope to come WV2014 3tback. The participants had a guided tour to witness the ruins of the village. After lunch at the village, the participants moved to Akko city, and had a guided tour and walk around inside its old city and its beach.

On Sunday the 28th, the participants had a political lecture in the morning on the Israeli violations, including settlements, imprisonments and how negotiations are useless while Israel continues its unjust practices. They then had a guided tour in Jerusalem old city, the Holy Sepulcher church, Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa mosque. During the tour they were briefed on Palestinian Christians and restrictions faced during Christian Holidays. After lunch, they went to the Mount of Olives, and had a guided tour around Jerusalem to witness settlements expansion.

On the following days, the participants joined the YWCA of Palestine International Women Conference, held in Bethlehem.