"Understanding Palestine is a hard mission. It is impossible without seeing for yourself, and even that way is not a simple task. Palestine is more than a simple country; it's a land full of ancient history; holy land for the three major monotheistic religions; and plays a central role in the most complex and long military conflict in modern history. That's why it is fundamental, when you expect to really comprehend something about Palestine, to have a good guide. You need someone who can show you the real nature of the conflict, without disguises. You need someone who really guides you through the details of history and politics, but either through all the enormous beauty, poetry and pride who hides in every stone, olive tree and Palestinian in your way. That’s why the ATG was the main cause of the success of my experience. The entire team really cares about showing all the truth in a respectful and honest way, with sense of humor and patience. They want to make you able to ask the right questions and find the answers in what you see. At ATG, you will find more than guides, you find true orientation."
My time here in Palestine has been amazing, the people living here are the friendliest, most caring and generous persons you will ever find. At ATG my focus has been on their Study Center where I have been writing research connected to the non-violent struggle in Palestine and tourism. ATG is a well-known and established organization with a lot of contacts throughout Palestine so it easy to get in contact with different persons and organizations.
I interned one month for Alternative Tourism Group. This experience was great given the good atmosphere among the small team I was working with and the mission that I got attributed. I had the opportunity to travel through the West Bank and the Golan Heights in order to gather informations about touristic sites exploited by Israelis in occupied territories (palestinian and Syrian). Thanks to this field research I learned more about the "factory of history" that represented a lot of Israeli natural reserves or museums such as the City of David in East Jerusalem. As a foreigner, I also felt and experienced the fear or hatred of "Arabs" expressed freely by Israelis working in these sites. Thus, I could realize how this kind of behavior prevents tourists visiting Israel from going to the West Bank as it is said to be "dangerous for their life". Moreover, working for ATG also gave me the opportunity to assist to the political tours Ivan by the organization and understand better the consequences of the occupation on the daily life of Palestinians. Finally, this month gave me the willing to raise awareness while coming back to my country and encourage other foreigners like me to come and see what is going on in the West Bank and experience the hospitality and diversity of Palestinians.
“I can highly recommend using ATG when going on group trips in Israel and Palestine. We used their services on a group trip for teachers with “Conflict” as the main theme, and were impressed by the program. Our guide had a lot of important knowledge and gave us a good understanding of the conflict. We were also able to visit places we would never go alone, like Hebron. In addition we met local people and were able to see what life is like in Palestine. This was really a trip we will remember the rest of our lives!”
ATG let us experience the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at first hand (see Hebron) but felt safe throughout the trip. It was so intense to see all these checkpoints with Israeli soldiers. Hebron itself and the refugee camp in Bethlehem were such unique experiences; one could feel the depression. The glass factory was one of the highlights and I recommend visiting it to everyone. The encounter with the Palestinian family could have been more interacting but I can understand that talking to tourists every day can be very tiring for a Palestinian family despite the language barrier.
The trip was unforgettable and very emotional – I appreciate the knowledge and experience I could gather about Palestine today! Thank you very much, ATG
I really enjoyed the culinary tour. Walking in the market and experiencing the Palestinian market culture was just amazing. Cooking and eating together with a local family is a good way to know and understand each other.
My participation in the Olive Picking Program was no coincidence. I always wanted to travel to Palestine, but didn't want to undertake my trip as a usual touristic adventure. And by that I mean a tour where one does sightseeing, spends money and goes back home. What got my attention was the humanitarian aspect oft the program. Helping the farmers that are affected by repressive Israeli policies. To show them that they are not alone, that there are people around the world that care about Palestinians. A mixture of solidarity program with extensive educational afternoons is a great combination for everyone who would like to learn more about Palestine. I would sincerely like to thank ATG for organizing such a great initiative. Hanging out with people from all around the world for a good cause is something that should be on everyones agenda. At times it was difficult to digest the images I have seen and stories I have heard. But seeing people that have sincere smile on their face no matter how hard the situation is gave me even more energy. As the slogan of the organization sums up nicely - Keep hope alive.
The Palestine Solidarity Committee of Norway, established more than 40 years ago, has long experience with organizing solidarity- and study tours in close co-operation with Palestinian partners. Through these trips the participants get insight into the history of Palestine and the current situation while being witnesses to the various consequences the Israeli occupation. Through encounters with local communities and NGOs they get first-hand knowledge and understanding as a basis for their own engagement. As tour leader I have had the pleasure of co-operating with ATG during the last two years. Being the oldest tour operator in Palestine, ATG has the knowledge and experience necessary to set up specialized programmes designed for our participants. I appreciate how ATG knows the most updated and relevant information sources as well as their good choice of accommodation and transport, while always taking into account the security of the group when travelling in an occupied country. I would also like to acknowledge the experienced and specially trained tour guides of ATG. While accompanying us on the roundtrip they also give our participants a special feeling of being welcomed and taken care of. These tours play an important role in strengthening the solidarity work and the friendship between the Norwegian and the Palestinian people.