International Volunteers Reflections
"The occupation influences the daily lives of
Palestinians in a horrible way. But it never breaks their
spirits and hearts."
"The Palestinian students, volunteers, Zajel staff and the international
participants have made this camp a wonderful experience. The
reality you see in Palestine is one you wish did not exist.
The occupation influences the daily life of Palestinians in
a horrible way. But it never breaks their spirits and
hearts. The people are incredibly welcoming and warm. After
only knowing my new friends for two weeks, I will miss them
when I return to Holland.
These two weeks have been intense, beautiful, sad, inspiring, painful,
and were worth every cent I spent here. I am glad I
participated, and I hope I will return and I will never
forget the people and the experience.
Thank you Zajel and Palestine!"
"I hope I will be one more voice and one more
hand for shouting and reporting against all the attacks
suffered by the Palestinians."
"When I decided to come to Palestine, I wasn't really sure about my
choice, asking myself, 'Why this place?'
Now, with the end of the camp coming, I am sure about the mission that I
have with Palestine: I hope I will be one more voice and one
more hand for shouting and reporting against all attacks
suffered by the Palestinians.
Thank you for letting me know your land and for opening the door to the
truth for us. Western perceptions of the situation are very
Thank you for making me a more human person.
I'm sure I'll come back someday!"
"One of the most extraordinary experiences
I've had in my life."
"Being part of this program has been one of the most extraordinary
experiences I've had in my life. In Palestine, I have found
a unique kindness and an inspiring strength, even within the
"This is a very interesting program because
you can understand Palestinians' problems, exchange
experiences, and make friends."
"Coming to Palestine made me stronger and more conscientious. thanks to
the Global Palestine Project. We work with university
students, people who are like you! This is a very
interesting program because you can understand Palestinians'
problems, exchange experiences, and make friends. We aided
the students by talking with them, providing constructive
criticism, and also by allowing them to enjoy themselves.
"I have to say that the obstacles and efforts
that I faced were nothing compared to the mass of
impressions, feelings, and reflections I found here."
"I was led to Palestine by pure interest in the situation of the
Palestinians. I also came here because I did not want to
believe all the stereotypes of suicide-bombing fanatics who
are trying to kill all the jews and civilians of the Western
"And I have to say that the obstacles and efforts that I faced were
nothing compared to the mass of impressions, feelings, and
reflections I found here. I am very happy to have spent the
time here and I am looking forward to come here again, since
the whole thng was so enriching despite the fact I came here
as a "teacher."
Naima, United Kingdom
"The most eye-opening situation for me is the
effect of a more silent and psychological occupation being
faced by the West Bank, which for me seems more dangerous on
a long-term basis than a full-frontal violent occupation."
"Coming to Zajel, I expected to find myself in a whole new environment.
"The first most uplifting and surprising observation was how impressive
An-Najah University is, and in the little time I have spent
at An-Najah I have become accustomed to the way the
university works and have thoroughly enjoyed it.
"The most eye-opening situation for me is the effect of a more silent
and psychological occupation being faced by the West Bank,
which for me seems more dangerous on a long-term basis than
a full-frontal violent occupation. The Zajel programme
itself was intense and informative as well as uplifting for
me as I felt very much a part of the Zajel family. The local
volunteers were impressive and extremely helpful in every
situation and the contrast in personalities made it perfect.
Zajel has shown me a true reflection of the Palestinian
struggle and I am forever grateful to have met you all."
Daniel, United Kingdom
"I have made friendships that no 8m wall,
intrusive checkpoints, or aggressive soldiers can get
"The last two weeks have been an experience never to forget. An
opportunity I'm so fortunate to have been part of. As
cliched as it may sound, Zajel has changed my life.
"This was my second time to Palestine. I'd seen the occupation's
oppressive regime before. But this time was different. Zajel
offered me the chance to meet, talk, and share with amazing,
"Throughout the workshops, I have learnt as much as I hope the students
have. Most importantly, I have made friendships that no 8m
wall, intrusive checkpoints, or aggressive soldiers can get
Michael, United Kingdom
"The trip to Hebron really brought the
harshness of the occupation home and showed me how important
it is to spread the issues Palestine faces with as many
people as possible."
"The Zajel program offered the great opportunity to volunteer and
learn about the Palestinian struggle. Bonding with the Zajel
team and meeting university students was a great way to
learn about Palestine and its culture as well as offering
students insight into British culture and a chance to speak
"The trip to hebron really brought the harshness of the occupation home
and showed me how important it is to spread the issues
Palestine faces with as many people as possible."
"We need to spread [Palestine's] message all
over the world, because it's not about an isolated case of a
human rights' violation. It's about recovering common sense,
love, and humanity in today's upside-down world."
"This summer camp is a great opportunity in order to get a global
consciousness of the situation taking place in Palestine.
"On the one hand, we have had a cultural exchange in the university
environment. The experiene of teaching students from An-Najah
University and dealing with the local volunteers has been
really enriching, but also unexpected. Not only because of
their high level of English, but also because of their deep
knowledge about the occupation of Palestine and of the
"On the other hand, we have had the chance of witnessing the horrors of
the Israeli occupation with our own eyes. Without any doubt,
this has been the most touching and shocking part of the
camp. However, it has also reminded me that there's still
hope left. The strength and the resistance of the
Palestinian people is unbelievable and admirable at the same
time. We need to spread their message all over the world,
because it's not about an isolated case of a human rights'
violation. It's about recovering common sense, love, and
humanity in today's upside-down world."
"It's difficult to write about
something when your understanding of it changes so
regularly. It's even more difficult when these experiences
no longer exist in the abstract."
"Reflecting on my time spent in Palestine with the Zajel
Program is almost impossible. Not because the itinerary
wasn't full (it was, and then some more) and not because the
people I met were not memorable (there are faces, names,
students, volunteers and moments I'll never forget) but
because the experiences of one day affected the conclusions
I had made the day before.
"Some things, like the standard of facilities and the level
of multi-language skills at An-Najah will make my university
colleagues very jealous. Other things, like leaving behind a
group of friends at a check-point because Israeli 'security'
decided no Palestinians enter that day make me wonder how
the Earth can still turn on its axis.
"It's difficult to write about something when your
understanding of it changes so regularly. It's even more
difficult when experiences no longer exist in the abstract.
"The Palestinian Struggle" is not some
ideological/political/cultural/religious conflict happening
thousands of miles away. It is my friend Jehad not being
able to travel to the UK to become an even better dentist or
to see the places I am desperate to show him. It is my
friend Naser looking after his parents, studying for his
degree, and leading two international exchange camps at the
same time all so his fellow students know there is life
outside the apartheid they live in.
"I will be going back to what is a comfortable life in
Scotland. To a house that will only stop being mine if
someone buys it; to a car I can drive on any roads its
wheels can touch; to a university that will never be closed
by the army in a town I will never have to complete a
mountain trek to get to. And to eight hours of sleep I never
expect to be interrupted by rocket fire.
"Will I feel guilty about this when I go home? I expect so.
Will I feel ill because these basic things I had never given
a second thought to are not certain for the people I learned
and laughed with? Every. Single. Day."
"I have met beautiful people,
discovered much about a stunning country and been massively
changed by seeing and hearing the gut-wretching reality of
"I signed up to the Zajel exchange because I wanted to
expand my knowledge on Palestine. Not only because I felt
somewhat ignorant to the situation here but also as I wanted
to find the nation beyond the articles and television
"On reflection of my short time here I feel I have
certainly achieved much of what I came out for. I have met
beautiful people, discovered much about a stunning country
and been massively changed by seeing and hearing the gut-wretching
reality of occupation.
"For anyone who wants to make a personal connection with a
place most only skim-read a few paragraphs on, this is a
perfect window into that world."