Note: Our second week of travel took us places where easy internet access was not available and our presense in some locations may have caused our hosts problems. Therefore, I chose to wait to post these entries until I returned to the States.

We arrived in Haifa this morning. Haifa is a community of both Jewish and Palestinian Israelis. For the most part, they live side by side peacefully, if not together in spirit. The first thing we saw was the Bahai Temple. As we drove down a street, the gardens of the temple rose from street level up the side of a hill towards the temple. They were beautiful. Unfortunately, the gardens weren’t open for visitors. Later in the day, we took our bus up the hill so we could look down on the grounds of the temple. Again, they were so beautifully landscaped.

After lunch, we met with a representative of Ittijah. Ittijah provides an organizational network for Palestinian NGOs in Israel. It helps to coordinate their activities so the strength of each organization is put to its best use. They put a lot of focus on the unrecognized Palestinian villages in Israel, representing about 70,000 Palestinians. By denying the existence of these villages on their maps, (located primarily in the North and in the Naqab), Israel is not required to provide basic services to their residents such as roads, housing, clean water, electricity, healthcare.

We then met with Ilan Pappe, a professor at Haifa University and Israeli Jew who has worked tirelessly towards an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people. He is an advocate of a boycott of products made in Israel as well as divestiture from companies who are profiting from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. He believes that although the conflict must be resolved between the Palestinians and Israelis, it will require pressure from the international community to bring the parties to the table. In his opinion, this pressure must include the United States.

Our evening was spent celebrating the 30th wedding anniversary of one of the couples on our trip. Andy made a very beautiful toast to his wife Carol and to the rest of the group. A nice way to end the day!