The tensions of the conflict between Israel and Palestine were clear to us from the very beginning of the trip. Even before entry permit, some of the participants were detained for a long time at the airport in Tel Aviv, where their doings in the country were questioned. The massive concentration of Israeli military in the cities we visited only confirmed the first impression of the situation.
On the first day in Hebron, it became clear to us, how there on both sides of the conflict are very radical opinions. The first activity on the trip was to meet with a representative of the Israeli settlers in Hebron and afterwards, the Palestinian activist group Youth Against Settlements, which in many ways showed the extremity of opinions of the conflict. These contrasts, which present the characteristics of the conflict, were present in all the different cities we visited in the country. Within a few kilometers, we experienced both white beaches in Tel Aviv crowded with tourists and expensive hotels, and also the wall a bit further in the country, which exists – depending on the point of view – for security reasons and a wish for separation, and divides the landscape through hundreds of kilometers.
Since it was the first time experience for many of us to be in the country, and therefore we did not know what to expect beforehand, these contrasts made great impressions on us. Quickly, it became clear to us how there are disagreement on the majority of aspects of the conflict; from how to solve it, to what it is really about. Suddenly, it was were easy to understand why we have yet to find a solution.
The trip both contained academic elements and new cultural impressions, and everything we experienced easily became the topic of discussion between the participants, and we all got to know each other really well. Therefore, this trip offers great possibilities for an academic focus, to gain great experiences, and new friendships are unavoidable.