Ramallah

We had an early start as we were going to Ramallah - where the Palestinian Authority is based. There are many checkpoints, but we were waived through them all.

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The Chief of Staff to the President

In the mid morning we visited Rafiq Husseini who is Chief of Staff to the President. The image of this compound being shelled by the Israelis with President Arafat being held prisoner inside is one that many people will not forget easily. There are no baths hanging from holes in the walls these days. It looked like a huge shrine was in the middle of being built to Arafat.

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Qalandia: A Camp of Child Detainees and Palestinian Barbie

Established in 1959, there are 10,500 in the camp which is 1km sq. There are two schools for children up to 15. Each class is about 50. There are 7 NGOs working in the camp, one of which is Save the Children.

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Dr Albert Aghazarian's Tour of the Old City

Albert Aghazarian kindly gave us a tour of the Old City. Albert is one of the most prominent Palestinian Armenian figures. As we walked around you could hear people saying "teacher, teacher". He took us to the roof terrace of a friend who had the most wonderful views of Jerusalem. He took us to the first "modern" building in Jerusalem which was a missionary church built by the British to convert the Jews. Part of it became the first British Consulate.

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Hebron: Day Two

Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe that we are descended from Abraham. His grave is in Hebron.  Unfortunately,  it has been surrounded by strife and conflict. Recently a group of religiously motivated settlers have been determined to set up home there and the Palestinians have been equally determined not to be expelled. It has led to terrible fighting, a massacre in the Ibrahimi Mosque, the partitioning of the town and the turning of the centre into a ghost town.

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Cathedral of St George's

In the afternoon when we got back to our hotel, we had some free time. I was determined to get into the Anglican church and succeeded. It's the Anglican Cathedral of St George's and at one stage gave sanctuary to Mordechai Vanunu.

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Arriving in Jerusalem

I went from 17-21 May to Palestine with CAABU. The last time I had been to Israel and the West Bank had been in the early 80’s. It came as a real shock to see how much the area had changed. This is the blog from my fact-finding trip.

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In Palestine

The last time I had been to Israel and the West Bank had been in the early 80’s. It came as a real shock to see how much the area had changed. This is the blog from my fact-finding trip.

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Dr Ghassan Khatib

A former minister and political analyst, we had a very interesting meeting with this editor ofhttp://www.bitterlemons.org/. He talked about the overwhelming importance of bringing back hope to Palestinian people. He also spent some time highlighting the conclusions of this recent World Bank report. The Israeli security restrictions are strangling the economic life out of Gaza and the West Bank.

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Arctic Challenge: Day Nine

Woke very tired on Thursday. Our last trip was to the Trinations border where Norway, Sweden and Finland meet. We had wonderful views.

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