Breaking Down Walls: Tours
About the Tours
A few years ago, a couple of Palestinians and Israelis met during a seminar organized by IPCRI. They decided that they wanted to go see each other and give other Palestinians and Israelis the chance to meet each other. Years later, their initiative became an ongoing tour program in IPCRI.
Restrictions of movement, aggravated since the building of the separation barrier, and an increasingly more hostile climate towards cooperation make it extremely difficult for Palestinians and Israelis to come together and get to know each other. This disconnect promotes continued misunderstanding and vilification of "the other." The tours aimed to challenge this reality by taking groups from both sides for guided day tours into the opposite territory, led by a professional peace-building tour guide. These tours offered opportunities for participants to meet with local people, be exposed to their daily routines, and learn about their culture, cities, and sites of interest.
We coordinated with the IDF and PA to allow legal entry for Israeli participants into Palestine and vice versa. Tours included political discussion, authentic cultural experiences and food, visits to historic sites, and interesting community projects. The tour series made an immediate impact by breaking down political, geographical, and psychological barriers to peace and understanding, countering trends of dehumanization of the other, and building positive public opinion towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.