10 April 2007
The dates on either side of Easter and Passover are notorious for encountering fully-booked hotels throughout Israel and a general clogging up of Tel Aviv Airport as thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Such a situation meant that the logistics of arranging a five-day event for some hundred and sixty religious, social and political leaders from Europe and the United States was no mean feat. Nevertheless, they managed to arrive in the country pretty much on schedule and all were suitably accommodated.
They were there for the latest in a series of Middle East Peace Initiative fact-finding visits during which they would be having face to face meetings with Israeli and Palestinian dignitaries and attending conferences both in Ramallah and Jerusalem. Also included in the programme of events was a briefing at the United Nations Office of Civil and Humanitarian Affairs, a visit to the Holocaust Museum and a forum on reconciliation for those in conflict. There would also be sightseeing opportunities both in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.