Thoughts From APN's 2024 Trip

By Hadar Susskind and Ori Nir

Yesterday, we wrapped up APN’s ten-day 2024 Israel-Palestine tour. We met with Israelis and Palestinians – politicians, civil society activists, families of  hostages and experts. We were at Kibbutz Be’eri in the south and at Um El-Fahem the north. We saw East and West Jerusalem, as well as Tel Aviv and Haifa.

We visited a country whose citizens (and residents) are struggling with immense trauma, pain, and sadness. We listened with empathy to everyone we saw, even when it was extremely difficult. It was a full program, all of the participants who took notes are running out of pages in their notebooks. Interestingly, perhaps the most compelling moments were the unscripted ones, those that suddenly emerged to surprise us. One such moment took place during our settlement watch tour with our colleagues from Shalom Achshav. When trying to enter a road near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, two guards at the gate-- both settlers who were drafted for reserve IDF service-- told us in very blunt terms that Arabs are not allowed in. As we had two Palestinians on the bus (our driver, who is a Jerusalem
resident, and our guide, who is an Israeli citizen), we were denied entry.

Another such moment came Tuesday night, when we were sitting at a Jaffa restaurant to hear from strategic affairs expert Yossi Alpher. A former senior intelligence officer, Yossi was discussing the intelligence failure that led to the October 7th calamity. Our server, a young Israeli woman, was standing nearby and listening carefully. At some point she asked to say something and exploded with rage. It turns out that she served as a lookout officer, observing the footage of the high tech cameras on the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank. Just like her colleagues on the Gaza border, she warned against breaches of the wall, and just like the lookout female officers in Gaza, her warnings were ignored by her commanders, she said. The problem, she argued, is not intelligence but a corrupt leadership.

There is much more to share about the highlights and difficult realities of being here right now. But what was 100% clear is that our voices-- your voices-- are more important than ever. Those who speak for peace. Those who recognize the shared humanity of Israelis and Palestinians, Arabs and Jews. We will, we must, continue our work. And we hope that next year you will be here with us.


Ori and Hadar