Thank you very much for the clear, balanced, intelligent, coherent and interesting guide that you were for us during this tour.
Much appreciation for the efforts you and your (MW) friends devote to this and thus enable us, the passive public, to be exposed and meet the other side in the painful and desperate conflict in which we are involved. I would gladly interest other people in joining these tours.
Thank you and good luck further on, to all of us.
I just want to thank you for the tour we did yesterday…It was very well organized and you are the champion of the explanations! clear, interesting, with a special suspense touch! It was really a good experience, because even if a lot of us still knew part of the things you described to us, seeing them with our own eyes and listening to the people who live day by day this difficult situation, transforms written words in reality!
Thank you, thank you a lot chiara
Very dear Daniela,
As we arrived at our final stop I ran towards the front of the bus, all ready to sound off the speech of thanks I had prepared in my head… and was disappointed to have missed you.
I wanted to tell you that prior to this tour we were apprehensive, fearing possible attempts to talk us into being more ‘leftist’ than we are, that I would return even more depressed and despairing than I already am, and that the tour won’t show us anything new because we are quite up to date with the situation, and that perhaps this would just be another boring tour, as we already suffer too many distractions as it is.
But everything was so well measured! And to the point. Every word uttered was weighed and fell in its perfect place. I could even tell my mother when we were back – “It’s not what you think… the guide herself likes soldiers… And Eretz Israel!!” So thanks for a beautiful and sad day that will make ne glad, the day I chose to celebrate my birthday. Qaddoum village will stay with me for a long time. At night I dreamt (my imagination was already working on the bus on our way back) that Qaddoum would become a site for pilgrims from all over the world, with people sitting in the houses and drinking tea and telling their story to their guests and that the village is protected from all evil.. Just fantasizing, it’s a good thing sometimes.
And I wanted to tell you that you do a wonderful job! This morning I already prepared a whole list of people I will urge to take this tour. Perhaps even my mother might be talked into coming, without pressure.
Have a nice week, and thanks a lot,
It took me a long time and lots of air to sit down and write about this “trip”… The tour in the West Bank was organized by Machsomwatch women (yes, strictly women). It was a kind of trip, with an oriental meal at a local restaurant in (the Palestinian village of) Nabi Elias, right beneath the fence that surrounds the Alfei Menashe enclave to the north. Green lovely pastoral landscapes. We viewed several points along the Separation Fence, visited the agricultural checkpoint at Habla (south of the town of Qalqiliya), conversed with locals and returned through Eliyahu Crossing (east of Qalqiliya). We also made a brief visit to the village/encampment on the roa leading to Alfei Menashe (inside the Alfei Menashe enclave).
It is obvious to everyone that if things were the other way around, our situation would be much worse, but still… The reality of Palestinians’ life along the fence is not easy. The need to obtain permits (every single thing requires a separate permit and there are over one-hundred types of permits), going through checkpoints and inspections every morning and evening, all this is no “trip” and the treatment by soldiers/security personnel is not always friendly, to say the least.
My careful assumption is that the future does not promise improved weather…
On behalf of Nurit and myself, I want to thank you very much for the Mahsomwatch Tour that was so well organised and informative that I have only good things to say, so I hope the positive feedback is useful.
One of the best aspects of the tour was the kind of variety of experiences: seeing the wall and its impact on the Palestinian communities, observing an active checkpoint and seeing how it works, the lecture in Nebi Elias gave us a very clear picture of how the policy towards the Palestinians (security zones, settlements, bypass roads) can close in on a community and destroy the livelihood of people, the visit to Kafr Kaddum and the lone house at the end gave us insight into how the Occupation and arbitrary decisions make life so difficult for people, and the driving tour through the heart of the West Bank enabled us to actually see the places we so often hear about in the news and to see the reality on the ground with our own eyes.
IN any case, exposure to this very broad “sample” of the Occupation was more than I expected and very informative - as well as very disturbing.
The explanations you gave on the bus were also very interesting and useful. You did an excellent job. We also appreciated your honesty and precise description of your positions and those of MahsomWatch.
The organisations was excellent. Things were on time and we went according to schedule. The bus was comfortable. We felt secure.
We are happy to recommend the tour to our Israeli friends and to visitors from abroad.
Please let us know if there are ways to be involved. We’re both fluent in Hebrew and English and I speak a passable Arabic.
Nurit and Victor Friedman
The tour was very professionally organised and conducted, your briefings were enormously profound and thus interesting. Thank you so very much! I wish you and all your colleagues good luck with your endeauvors!
All the very best - shabat shalom
We just wish to let you know how much we enjoyed and appreciated the West Bank Tour on 21 December.
Without feeling bombarded by information overload, we learned a great deal about the current situation and we were most impressed with all your hard work, careful organisation, and perseverance in arranging for the people whom we met in the West Bank to speak to our group.
Your knowledge is encyclopaedic, and we feel strongly that both Israelis and visitors should all experience your West Bank tour.
Your dedication to the cause of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence should be an inspiration to everyone.
With all good wishes,
Nina-Anne Kaye and John Stevens.
I would like to thank you for the interesting, comprehensive and meaningful tour you led on Oct 14.
Every site we visited introduced us to a new and important aspect of the effect of the Israeli occupation on the lives of Palestinians. Your knowledge, professionalism and the clarity of your presentation were all outstanding!
Even though I've lived in Israel for 40 years and consider myself a "news addict", I still learned a lot from the tour about the methods and effects of the creeping annexation of the West Bank by Israeli settlers.
Our face-to-face meetings with various Palestinians allowed for free discussion of all the difficult issues.
I would like to explore what possibilities there may be for me to volunteer for Machsom Watch. Perhaps I could talk to one of your active volunteer?
All the best,
I want to give you some of my impressions of the tour in Jerusalem on 21.12.13. Machsom Watch’s activity is, on the one hand, a sacred endeavor, and, on the other hand, does Israel an injustice. The fact that a mature person stands at the checkpoints, trying to insure that they operate appropriately, ethically, that basic human rights are not violated, is very worthy and very good for Israel. But, on the other hand, you publish your photographs and show them to the media in Israel and abroad, though Israel has been vilified for a long time even without your efforts. Don’t forget the lynch in Ramallah when you show the Qalandiya checkpoint, because the lynch demonstrates that every passerby seeks our sons’ blood. Don’t forget, as you show the checkpoints, all the bereaved families mourning their relatives - how their lives have become joyless. Think about the possible consequences of the material you publish, about the pressure and the sanctions that the UN could impose on Israel, think about what crossing permits could lead to. When you show the areas Israel annexed think about where your children and grandchildren will live, where they would be able to buy an apartment in Israel. And after you remember all that - your work is truly worthy of admiration, the fact you rise so early to uphold human rights. Remember, because you’re truly compassionate women, the suffering of your own people, and don’t be so angry at those young, inexperienced soldiers standing there for hours, at all hours of the day and night. Remember, above all, to do what’s best for Israel - and, in fact, when you notice inhumane treatment of minorities by the authorities, that’s very helpful to Israel. But you should first notify the Israeli authorities, and only then, if the problem persists, publicize it more widely so that others may respond.
Thank you for hearing me out. I wanted to express this after the tour, which was extremely interesting and educational.
Translated by Charles K.
Boker tov, Daniela,
Yesterday was an important, sad, and upsetting day. Yet your brilliant leadership — humor, intellect, patience, passionate belief in human rights for all creatures, and love of your homeland helped reframe the experience from total despair to understanding, bridge building, and glimmers of hope for change. Claudio and I have been on related tours, and this was the first where the leader was not pushing an agenda with eyes that can only see a black-and-white world. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "Some are guilty, all are responsible." I think this principle drives MachsomWatch.