Monthly Archives: October 2017

Wadi Qana

By | 31st October 2017

During the Being Peace retreat, our group visited a particularly fertile valley not far from Deir Istiya, known as Wadi Qana. The valley contains a natural stable watercourse and five springs which supply water to the orchards and olive groves lining the valley’s gentle hillsides. Much of the land in the valley is owned by… Read More »

Olive Picking: Part 2

By | 31st October 2017

After two days we had a rest from picking and engaged in some alternative opportunities to learn more about what life is like under the Occupation. At the nearby village of Hares the entire group visited the home of a much-respected Palestinian activist. In 2001, during a non-violent demonstration against the Occupation, he was shot… Read More »

Olive Picking: Part 1

By | 31st October 2017

Our first full day of the Being Peace retreat in Deir Istiya was set aside for rest and familiarisation. It involved several meditation sessions and almost a full day of silence. The day after was our first day of olive picking. The majority of Palestinian farmers in the Occupied Territories are at least partially dependent… Read More »

Being Peace Retreat

By | 31st October 2017

Being Peace is the name of a retreat organised and run by meditation and social action group SanghaSeva. It is held each year in October during the olive harvest in a small Palestinian village in the West Bank of the Occupied Territories. Clare had been on this particular retreat twice before and had been the… Read More »

Introduction to the Israeli Occupation

By | 30th October 2017

The situation between Israel and the Palestinians is a complex one and the media rarely conveys information on the details behind the military occupation. To provide some context to my upcoming posts, I have written some background to the Israeli-Palestinian situation as I understand it. Although I have made every effort to keep what I… Read More »

Three Nights In Jaffa

By | 29th October 2017

At Istanbul S.Gokcen Airport, we were waiting to board our flight to Tel Aviv when I witnessed a heated exchange between two women. Something about it made me feel a certain degree of apprehension about the next stage of our trip. Back in May, I’d had my first taste of the Middle East during a… Read More »

More Delights For The Senses

By | 15th October 2017

During several walking adventures into the Sultanahmet district, we would often pass the Hafiz Mustafa store, its display windows brimming with Turkish delight, baclava and various other pastries and sweets. It began operation as a bakery and confectionery in 1864 and on more than one occasion we stopped for some Turkish tea and baclava or… Read More »


By | 14th October 2017

One of the most striking things about Istanbul at the time of our visit was the abundance of cranes and scaffolding. Almost every ‘sight’ in the city was in the process of being renovated, obscuring some part of the exterior or interior with scaffolding. While it took something away from the overall beauty and symmetry… Read More »

Bosphorus Tour

By | 12th October 2017

The Bosphorus and the Black Sea have always had an air of mystery about them for me. Perhaps it developed reading books in the past about this narrow waterway separating two continents and at the same time providing a trade route between Russia and Eastern Europe in the north and the Mediterranean and Middle East… Read More »