The Friends Meeting House in Fasayil al Fouqa is now the hub of our campaign, where we co-ordinate all our activities, and where international visitors can stay. We welcome all volunteers who can commit to our principle of non violence and come with the aim to support the Palestinian resistance and to end the Israeli Occupation. If you are interested in working with us please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a really strong team of Palestinian activists working with local communities: Nevin, Rashid, Sireen, Abu Sakkr, Mohammed Abbouda and Talib. However, the campaign is always stronger when we have more activists working with us. We appeal to both Palestinian and international volunteers to come and work with us in the Jordan Valley, whether you can come for a few days, a few weeks or a few months. You will always be welcome.
Over the last year internationals have been involved in supporting threatened communities, documenting of human rights abuses, and practical solidarity work.
A. Practical solidarity work
As a campaign we have been developing sustainable building methods in the valley by building homes, schools and the Friends Meeting House with mud bricks and local materials. We do this work with local communities and the support of internationals is always valuable: helping with the work and providing an international presence at the same time.
Our supporters have also helped us to run water pipes to communities in Area C, such as Al Farisiya, and plant crops and trees.
We always welcome anyone who wants to organise activities with the children from our communtiy schools, which are run entirely by volunteer teachers.
B. Supporting threatened communities
When families face the demolition of their homes, are having their water resources or land stolen by the illegal settlers, or are facing harrassment, abuse and violence, they often request the support of our international friends. We work with internationals to provide a non-violent presence that is focussed around the needs of the families and communties concerned.
C. Documenting human rights abuses
Writen accounts of what is happning in the Jordan Valley, along with good quality photographs and film are really important. We can use these on our own website, but are also really pleased when volunteers spread this information to a wider audience by having their own blogs, speaking to supporters, contacting the international meadia, and lobbying those in power to take action.
The campaign has a house in the central Jordan Valley where volunteers live together. Living communally, eating and working together means that you are never alone and always supported by other volunteers and people from the local area. Working and living in the Jordan Valley means that you will have to live in basic conditions and respect the Palestinian culture and traditions. This include dressing appropriately (long sleeves, long trousers and high neck).
Volunteers in the past have stayed with the campaign from anywhere between 1 day and 2 years. No experience is necessary, the only thing that we ask is that people commit to our principle of non violence and that you come with the aim to support the Palestinian resistance and to end the Israeli Occupation.
We expect no money for accommodation, but if you are able to make a small donationw e appreciate it. All other costs during your stay are covered by yourself. We do ask that once your time with us in the Valley ends that you use your experience and knowledge to spread information globally about the situation here.
Planning your visit
Activists in the UK sometimes organise training for people going to work with JVS – doing some training before you come means you will be far better prepared, will be able to support our work more effectively and will get more out of your visit. They only do training occasionally, so contact them as far in advance as possible.
To find out if there is any training planned email email@example.com.
It is also really worth having a look at the ISM website, which has lots of useful advice for activists planning to travel to Palestine.
How to get to the Jordan Valley house from Al Quds (Jerusalem)
Public transport for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley is very limited. There are some services (shared taxis) that run from Jericho, but this depends on the day and the time. Please phone us before you come (the day before is best) to check we are in the house and to check the travel details.
You can get a bus from Jerusalem to Al Elsariyya, then a service (shared taxi) from Al Elsariyya to Ariha (Jericho), then a lift or taxi from Ariha (Jericho) to the JVS house in Fasayil al Fouqa.
Start from just outside Damascus Gate (Jerusalem/Al Quds), turn right and walk towards the Golden Wall Hotel. The bus station is on your left a few minutes down the street. Take bus no. 263 to Al Elsariyya. It costs 8 shekels and takes about 20 minutes. Tell the bus driver you are going to Ariha (Jericho) and he will drop you at the bus stop in Al Elsariyya.
Cross the road to get a ‘service’ (yellow shared mini-bus taxi). It will wait until it is full and then leave. It costs around 20 shekels and takes about 30 minutes. Ask for the square in the middle of Ariha city.
If we are near Ariha we might be able to pick you up – otherwise you will need to get a private taxi which costs around 80 shekels. The house is in Fasayil al Fouqa – around 3km along a gravel track off the main road.
Get involved wherever you are!
Even if you can’t join us in Palestine at the moment, please think of other ways you can support our grassroots campaigning, by doing solidarity actions where you are, organising fundraising events, or making a donation.