The French tour company Voyageurs du Monde (World Travelers) has launched a new brochure to promote tourism in Israel and Palestine as a whole, under the slogan ‘peace and love’ but only mentions, superficially, the separation wall or the checkpoints. The project has been supported by the Israeli National Tourism Office as well as the Delegation of Palestine in France.Defined as a ‘top class’ trip, Voyageurs du Monde offers an 8 day tour from 1,700 Euros, to discover, among others, Tel-Aviv, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Hebron, Haifa and Nablus, stressing the positive things that the region can offer and adding the importance of the tourism to promote peace.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is explained through a historical chronology of the region, which does not mention the Palestinian refugees issue or the Nakba as well as the settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In addition, the brochure does not go into some topics as the checkpoints and the separation wall, which are part of the daily life for Palestinians.
With regard to the checkpoints, it is stressed that although sometimes there are crowds of Palestinians who want to move from their cities to Israel, international tourists will not find any of these inconveniences. In addition, the separation wall is reported as a place where people can paint and express their protest.
In the Jerusalem chapter, East and West Jerusalem are defined as two communities that coexist and in Hebron it offers a visit to ‘the Jewish quarter, with an inhabitant of Kiriat Arba, a neighborly settlement.’
Members of the French association Euro Palestine have denounced on their website that the brochure is ‘an attempt to normalize the Israeli apartheid through tourism,’ and called for ethics-based travelling.
‘In 100 pages with as many photos, this deluxe full-color document has no room for the picture of a single Israeli soldier, not one checkpoint, nothing from a refugee camp, and not a single word about the immense suffering of the people of Gaza. This state of ‘negationism’ is very trendy among these sons of the great pitch for denial,’ they added.