Saturday, 17 July 2010

Green Olive Tours to the West Bank

ve Tours was the brainchild of social entrepreneur Fred Schlomka, a veteran political activist in Israel and Palestine, and a businessman with a long track record of unique enterprises designed to address social and political issues. The company has created a wide variety of tours aimed at independent travelers who are seeking to get 'off the beaten track' and have a desire to explore the culture and politics of Historic Palestine and the state of Israel.

The primary mission of Green Olive Tours is to educate travelers, and provide unique tours that expose them to a wide variety of local people and cultural mores. Religious and historical sites are also seen, in addition to visits to refugee camps, Palestinian villages, and Israeli West Bank Settlements.

Cultural and social exchange are also an important part of the tours. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the people they meet, ask probing questions, and develop an understanding of Palestinian and Israeli society. Through such interaction, local people are also able to develop a better understanding of the visitors' countries of origin.

During the tours, the guides provide ongoing commentary, interpretation, and critical analysis of the situation on the ground. The 'icons' of the Israeli Occupation are examined: The Separation Barrier, checkpoints, segregated roads, settlements, and walled Palestinian ghettos.

Green Olive Tours partners with many Palestinian organizations and business, ensuring that a substantial portion of the income from the tours flows into the Palestinian economy which has declined over the past decade. Visitors are also encouraged to do their shopping in cooperatives, fair trade outlets, and small businesses in Palestinian areas.
Mission Statement
Green Olive Tours is a social enterprise tour agency providing tours that are informative and analytical, covering the history, culture, and political geography of Palestine (West Bank) and Israel. The tours provide benefit to the indigenous population through the hiring and training of tour guides, overnight stays with families & small guest houses, and encouraging visitors to purchase local crafts.

The wide range of itineraries include interaction with Palestinians and Israelis, and visit areas that embody the history and current status of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and between Israel's Jewish, Palestinian-Arab, and Bedouin citizens. The complex mosaic of religions, nationalities, and political viewpoints in the Holy Land are explored in depth. Many of the tours visit sites of historical, cultural and religious interest, placing them within the context of the ongoing analysis provided by the guide.

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