For the social events, we are glad to announce that for this year’s conference we will be holding two tours around Palestine. We aim to make these trips as culturally and historically rich as possible. These events will be free of charge, but we would like to kindly ask you to register your name at the registration desk upon arrivals in order to estimate the numbers and guarantee your spot on the trips. Following are the details on each trip:
1. Holy City of Jerusalem:
One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem has been a cradle of civilizations over centuries, with its significance coming from being considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. It has been destroyed and rebuilt, captured and recaptured, and attacked over 50 times throughout its history. And today, it still remains affected by political disputes as its status is one of the core issues of the Palestinianstruggle against the Israeli occupation. After the 1948 war, Jerusalem was divided and East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was under the Jordanian law. However, after the 1967 war, Israel occupied East Jerusalem. Currently, access to East Jerusalem is restricted and requires a special permit for Palestinian citizens to enter. If you enter Palestine with a visa then it would be possible to enter Jerusalem, however if you are a Palestinian national, we advise that you apply for a visa beforehand.
The story of Jerusalem and its rich history is best seen, visited, and experienced. Each alleyway holds a different story of its journey and therefore we plan to take you through the history of Jerusalem, enjoy its spectacular views, majestic historical sites, and fascinating sites that look over the city of Jerusalem.
The schedule will roughly be planned as follows:
- Gather& meet in front of the PRCS halls main gate.
- Once in Qalandia, we will have to walk through the checkpoint where you would need to present your documents to Israeli soldiers.
- We will meet again after Qalandia’s checkpoints gates and take the bus.
- Our first stop is at Bab Al-Amud (Damascus Gate), one of the most prominent examples of 10th century architecture.
- From Damascus Gate we will enter the Old City where we will have one hour to visit the different shops and walk the Via Dolorosa “The path of Suffering/ Tareeq Al-Alaam”, which according to Christian belief is the way Jesus walked to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where he was tortured, flogged and carried his entire cross all the way.
- After that point we will enter to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qibliya in Islam. This includes the Dome of the Rock, from which the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ascended to heaven, in addition to mosques, corners and domes. It is even described as a small city, or as a spiritual and cultural complex.
- We will be also visiting the Church of Holy Sepulcher, where there is the site where Jesus was crucified according to the Christian beliefs, and his empty tomb, enclosed by a shrine, where it is said that he has been buried and resurrected.
- We will finish the tour with having dinner in an Arabic Jerusalem restaurant, which offers magnificent views over the city of Jerusalem.
2. A journey to the North of West Bank, Palestine
This trip is planned to go through Nablus, Sabastia, and Jenin. These cities are geographically to the north of the West Bank, and therefore is accessible for everyone since it does not require a special permit like Jerusalem. Going to this tour, we will pass through a number of Palestinian cities, Jewish settlements, Palestinian refugee camps, and vast areas of olive trees. The views are very enjoyable alongside the way, especially in April when the Palestinian wild flowers would be blooming in the fields.
Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank, is a very vibrant and lively city that combines both modern and ancient views. It is built around the Old City with its beautiful buildings that date back to the Ottoman Empire. In the old city, we will of course be paying a visit to the olive oil soap factory that Nablus is very famous for. There are also one of the oldest Turkish baths there and many shops everywhere, it is also famous for its fabric shops. We recommend that you purchase souvenirs from Nablus’s Old City market. Of course, we won’t end the trip in Nablus without trying Kunafa, a local sweet that is best prepared by Nablusi sweet makers.
Sabastia lies in the Governorate of Nablus. Its history dates back to the Roman, Medieval, and Ottoman times and therefore is full of archeological sites. The most famous of which is the Roman theatre. There are also the NabiYahya Mosque built around the remains of a crusader cathedral, Roman royal tombs, and other medieval-time buildings. It is a very culturally enriching tour that is often missed by visitors.
Finally, we will end the tour in Jenin. After all of the walking around the cities and the different tours, we will head to the Haddad Resort in Jenin. This resort lies in an 11-acre area with beautiful landscape, around two miles to the south of Jenin. There we will have time to eat dinner and enjoy the different facilities the resort offers. For more information on the resort itself, we recommend that you visit their website: http://www.haddad-resort.com/.