Letters about tours | Machsomwatch
אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר

Letters about tours

Dear Daniella,

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,

Ilana B.

Monday, 24 March 2014


 Pitzi and Nurit, shalom,


The work you’re doing is sacred, humane and moral.  It cleanses us, removes from the Israeli public the taint of silence, denial and escapism.
The tour was fascinating. I consider myself one who knows what’s going on, involved in the issue:  I was an active participant in the Paris talks after the Oslo agreement as the coordinator of the Israeli delegation to the negotiations.
I read B’Tselem’s reports and the newspaper accounts by Amira Hass and Gid’on Levy.  But there’s no substitute for seeing and hearing at firsthand. 
By showing us the awful sights, the dreadful sounds, the tremendous despair through which we drove you made this trip meaningful and significant, and you deserve the greatest respect for doing so. I keep telling friends and acquaintances about the tour.  I hope some of them will take it also.


All my best, and thank you,


Yisrael Oz

Daniela and Nava,

The tour was well organized; all the arrangements adjusting how we set out and fixing the course of the trip worked perfectly. The guidance was professional. It was clear that you have long experience in the topic of the CPs, especially those in the West Bank. The meetings with local people at the stops added a human dimension to the general picture and facilitated our understanding of the human difficulties that the residents, mostly farmers, have to deal with. We gained  a broad  perspective on the problems of the Palestinian villages, especially from the very  focused explanations of narrow local aspects and from the pointed information that was given.


In my opinion, these tours should be recommended to everyone who is interested, people on the political right as well as those on the left, because it has no connection with the colonies, with political attitudes or with any kind of political arrangements for  the state. The only connection is with the military rule in the occupied areas and the basic humanitarian aspect of our relationships with the neighbors who are closest to us now and in the future. We have no others, these are our neighbors forever.


Thank you,


Oded Yanon



Hi Daniela,


I decided to email you straight away while everything is still fresh in my head (and before I get even busier...).

I thought the tour was excellent. The introduction you gave on the tour bus was one of the best concise overviews of the conflict I've heard, and the use of maps brought the talk out of abstraction and gave us something concrete to pair the information with. The variety of locations and timing our arrival to see a checkpoint 'in action' was a particularly important part of the trip, and being able to walk around Huwwara and engage with the village at the end was also a highlight. I was also grateful to be able to see Kaddum for myself after its unfortunate appearance in the news recently, following the death of a villager from tear gas.


Many thanks for such a well-run and educational tour, and I hope to join you on another one soon.


All the best,




Dear Daniela and Alix,
I wanted to thank you again for the way you organized and managed the tour last Sunday (18 th (It was very interesting, I learned a lot. From France I had a very different view of what is really happening regarding settlements. It is always difficultto criticize the israelian policy without being qualified of antisemitism!!!! which, of course, has nothing to do...
Your explanations were very clear,  I will recommand it to my friends and relatives visiting Israel, for sure.

I wish the best for your actions. I renew my offer to make a french translation of some of your articles.

Best regards,


Sophie Boiré
Paris- France


Hi Daniella,

The tour along the fence in the West Bank was interesting and depressing. The organization of the tour was perfect, the explanations were excellent, you showed a deep knowledge and your English, by the way, is excellent, I wish I had your fluency.   


The Palestinian we met were very welcoming and spoke to us with openness and sincerity. The feeling was that they really want peace. Hence the depression. How long can they endure the suffering we cause them, how close is the breaking-point, the despair, and then the deluge...


What happened to the basic notion proclaiming that each human has the right of self determination, freedom of movement and of freedom of choice? 

Where did the hubris that we are better and more justified, and of course more moral, stem from? 


I am sorry that there are only few Israelis who are exposed to the reality behind the fence. How convenient and pleasant to ignore that behind it people are living through hell and to believe that the fence has only one meaning: to enable us to be safe in Raanna, Ramat Hashron and Kefar-Saba. Oh, what a sweet delusion. 

Thank you, Daniella for enlightening us. 

Ruthi and Ian. 



Dear Pizi,


First of all I want to thank you for your guidance during the tour. I believe that things said from the heart reaches the heart directly, and your words, throughout the whole tour, penetrated deep into my heart.

The way you coped during the "ordered" moments deeply impressed me, your patience, gentleness, relaxed ton of voice. I have a long way to learn and advance. 


John Lennon Sings: "Living is easy with eyes closed" my eyes were never closed but now they are wide open with huge amazement at the way we live with the immense injustice we are responsible for. 


I am not the same person after this tour. I don't want to come up with big declarations since acts speak louder than words. Meanwhile I collect clothes to pass on to the people of  Jayus with Eli''s help. 


"One has to do for others and not turn a blind eye. If one sees a fire he must try and extinguish it, if he doesn't have a bucket of water, he may use a cup, if one has no cup, he has a tablespoon, and if he doesn't have a tablespoon - then he has a teaspoon." Amos Oz.


With love and great admiration,



Dear Machsom Watch women,


Yesterday we participated in a tour led by Anat Shafir. It was both instructive and depressing.


We want to express our great appreciation to Anat. She did an excellent job – her explanations were fluent, to the point, comprehensive and thorough. She handled the participants in an exemplary manner. We wish particularly to mention the effective way she dealt with the soldiers at the Huwwara checkpoint – assertively, but with consideration.


To her, and all of you, we say: Well done!


We’ll be happy to receive more information, to participate in, tell friends about and help your just, appropriate and moving struggle.


Thank you,

Sara Kanol

Alex Shutzman

Our tour of the seam zone and checkpoints in the central West Bank has changed our understanding of what it’s like in the occupied territories, in particular because of what we experienced there.  Apparently you have to see for yourself.

Pitzi guided the tour and provided information professionally, comprehensively and even-handedly.  I was very impressed by her ability to navigate the fine line between the mixture of fear and national pride every Israeli feels when dealing with security issues, and understanding and empathy regarding the Palestinians’ daily lives.

It was moving and unnerving to meet residents of the occupied territories.  And it was also frustrating to be unable to alter the reality (???).

So…first of all, I want to thank you for your efforts, and ask you to thank Pitzi for us.  And second, if you have a project or a challenge with which you need help/assistance – let us know.

We’ve very supportive of, and sympathetic to your struggle – we’re with you…

Bless you!




(translated by Charles K.)




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.


Thank you,




Translated by Charles K.