Ramattan News reports on the opening of a “non-violence camp” in Bethlehem.

Supported by the European Union and including participants from countries such as Jordan, Israel, Spain, Italy, and Britain, as well as the PA-controlled territories, you would think it sounds like a good opportunity to bridge differences and promote mutual understanding, especially with this description:

The (non-violence camp) is one of ten projects which are receiving support from the European Union, to be implemented in Palestine through the EuroMed Youth programme.

The EuroMed Youth programme aims to strengthen the partnership between the European Union its neighbours, for the implementation of joint programmes focused on youth, and to promote mutual understanding between them.

The programme is a powerful took in the fight against racism, helps to reduce fear of the “other” and promotes active citizenship and the preservation of minority rights and opportunities for young people, as well as promoting the protection of heritage, culture and the environment.

However, further investigation reveals that this is not the case at all. In fact, it seems to promote an overtly pro-palestinian, one-sided view of things.

The project aims to discuss the problem of violence in communities and its causes, and attempts to reach solutions and procedural steps, through the exchange of experiences and views between participants from different countries.

The EC added that the activities aim at reducing or even eliminating this phenomenon within communities and to help non-violence to become part of the mainstream culture in societies.

“During the camp there will be visits to refugee camps and Palestinian cities, like Hebron and Jericho, in order to witness the daily life of Palestinian society and the daily suffering caused by the wall and settlements and bypass roads, and to visit historical and religious sites in Palestine,” the EC said in a statement received by Ramattan.

Given the unreliability of Ramattan News Agency, I went straight to the source to determine whether or not they were misrepresenting the camp. They’re not.

Draft Programme (may be subject to small modifications)


Monday 3 November
7:00- 9:00 Wake Up & Breakfast
9 :00– 17:00 Trip to Bethlehem refugee camps, bypass roads, settlements, and the wall: the trip also include some surrounding villages like Al-Khader and some important historical and religious sites like the Solomon Pools, Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field in Beit Sahour. Such trip will better inform local participants (Palestinian from the West Bank and from inside the green line) about the situations in neighbouring communities since residents of the different areas in the West Bank does not know exactly the situations in other areas due to movement restrictions between cities. Such trips will also better orient international participants to the problems posed by the Occupation on local communities thus having a clearer pictures of what is going on.


Wednesday 5 November
7 :00-9:00 Wake Up & Breakfast
9:00 – 17 :00 Trip to the Dead Sea & Jericho: the aim of this trip is more of a leisure activity and entertainment to participants. However through this trip participants will also have the chance to see Wadi Al-nar street thus experience the difficulties Palestinians face in their daily life trying to move from one place to another. Participants will also visit important sites like Mount of Temptation.

Thursday 6 November

7:00-9:00 Wake Up & Breakfast
9:00- 17:30 Day Off: international participants would make use of this day to do some personal shopping, or some personal visits like visiting Jerusalem for example which is not scheduled among our field trips because some of the local participants may not have permits to enter Jerusalem.


Saturday 8 November

7:00 -9:00 Wake Up & Breakfast
9:00 – 17:00 Field Trip to Hebron: this trip also aims at exposing participants to the daily Palestinian lives by visiting neighbouring villages near the settlements and hearing real stories form people living there. The visit will also include the Old City of Hebron where participants will have lunch, do some shopping, and visit some of the historical sites like the Tomb of the Patriarchs/Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi Mosque.

Notice that there is no effort to see the Israeli side of things. And even the “leisure activities” such as visiting the Dead Sea are politicized.

Of course, this is not a surprise, given the involvement of an organization like the Holy Land Trust. However, given that this project is being funded by the European Commission/EU, it raises further questions about the EU and its role in the Middle East peace process. Quite simply, the EU seems to be siding with the palestinians, promoting their narrative, and doing anything but promote mutual understanding and respect.

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