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Jul 22, 2014
Fred From Green Olive Tours Talks Walking His Dogs in Jaffa and Suffering the Israel/Gaza Conflict
The country is full of pain and suffering in these days. The death toll mounts. Hospitals are being bombed. Cities are being targeted. The poor and the dispossessed have nowhere to hide, and pay the greatest price. The wealthy and powerful hide in their reinforced concrete bunkers or tunnels deep in the sand. The country has once again gone mad with hatred and bloodlust.
Last night I left my home to walk my dogs to the beach of Jaffa and encountered several heavily armed policemen camped out at the end of the block. I discovered later that they were there to protect the neighborhood from racist thugs who were rioting on nearby Yefet street screaming 'Death to the Arabs'. In the meanwhile my good friends in Ra'anana are supervising their children baking cookies to send to the soldiers at the 'front'. It's all a little surreal.
The contradictions and pain of this moment are perhaps best illustrated through the words of Erella, who writes about her conversation a few days ago with a good friend in Gaza. > > Read on > >
The tour business is of course struggling. The tourists have gone and cancellations keep pouring in. Refunds are draining our dwindling supply of working cash. Also, over the past three months we have added daily Tel Aviv pickups for our day-tours, and hired a full-time driver to better service the anticipated increase in clients. Alas we now have less clients and more overhead. However this too shall pass. From our experience, it takes 2-3 months after a war ends, for the tourists to return in large numbers.
We are also building an expanded Volunteer Program and have engaged a part-time staffer to develop this part of our work. By the end of the summer we will be offering 4-12 week volunteer opportunties at many local charities, NGOs, and economic development organisations throughout Palestine and Israel. We'll be helping Bedouin, Women, Refugee youth and Arab/Jewish Fair Trade organisations to fulful their goals.
Green Olive has also begun a program of continuing education seminars and training tours for our guides and others from the Alternative Tourism sector who want to take advantage of our expertise and experience. The seminar at the end of May gathered over 30 people for two days of learning and discussion. This is one example of how we put to work any excess funds or profits from the tours.
And so, to ease us through these hard times and build a stronger foundation for the future, we are making you an offer whose time has come - see below.
Fred Schlomka, CEO
Become a Member of the Green Olive Collective
Green Olive Tours is a project of the Green Olive Collective. The organisation is a wide-ranging network of Palestinian and Israeli partners, working partners, investors and international members who are committed toour principals.
There has been much talk of BDS, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel. While we support selective BDS, we also offer an opportunity to make a positive investment in a civilised future for Palestine/Israel.
Be part of the solution. Help develop our educational tours, volunteer programs, economic & social development projects - all designed to build momentum towards a post-Occupation reality.
There are six levels of Membership. Each level comes with privileges and rewards. Take a look at what's being offered and select the level of membership you are comfortable with.