2019 writing competition

The Green Olive Collective is launching a writing competition and you are invited to share your thoughts with our community! There are cash prizes to be won and author Gershon Baskin has kindly agreed to act as our judge.

Our judge - Jerusalem Post columnist Gershon Baskin

How to enter

The theme for the topic is broad: "Reflections on my trip to Israel-Palestine". You might like to tell us your views on the country, and how they changed during your trip. You might have some novel idea for a potential solution to the ongoing conflict here. Or perhaps you have a reaction to the Peace to Prosperity conference held recently in Bahrain?

Whichever subject you chose, the article must be in English and between 500 and 750 words.

Then submit your article, before August 30, at this link.

  • Total prize money of US$600, including a grand prize of $300 for the winning submission.
  • Signed copies of In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine, the most recent book by peace activist Gershon Baskin.
  • All short listed articles will be published on the Green Olive blog, and the winning article will be distributed to the nearly 30000 Green Olive supporters around the world.
>> Submit your article here <<

    Terms and conditions

    1. The competition is open to anyone age 18 and over who has visited Palestine / Israel during the past five years.

    2. Closing date for receipt of all entries is midnight on Friday the 30th of August, 2019.

    3. To enter, submit your article consisting of 500-750 words via the official entry form.

    4. An initial shortlist of ten entries will be selected on merit by a panel of reviewers appointed by Green Olive Tours (including at least one independent reviewer not affiliated with Green Olive Tours). The selected ten entries will then be open to voting by the public via the Green Olive Tours website. The winner will be chosen by independent judge, Gershon Baskin, from the three entries receiving the most votes.

    5. The author's name (with permission) and country will be published along with their article. Contact information is for the use of Green Olive Tours only and will not published.

    6. Public voting will begin on Friday 13th September 2019 and terminate on Friday 27th September 2019. To be eligible to vote, you must submit a unique email address and vote on our official website. Only one vote is allowed per person.

    7. The winner will be announced via the Green Olive Tours website by the 4th of October 2019 and informed via contact information provided with the entry.

    8. The winner will receive a prize package consisting of $300 USD (payable via PayPal or wire transfer) along with a signed copy In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine by Gershon Baskin. Second prize will receive $200 USD and a copy of the book. Third prize will received $100 USD and a copy of the book.

    9. The winning article will be published in the October 2019 Green Olive Tours newsletter that is distributed to almost 30000 people throughout the world. 

    10. Green Olive Tours reserves the right to publish any entry on its website now and at any time in the future. Authors retain the copyright and can subsequently publish elsewhere, with an attribution and link back to Green Olive Tours.

    11. Entries limited to one per person. 

    12. Email addresses provided during entry or voting will be used solely by Green Olive Tours and will not be disclosed to any third parties. Newsletters and other correspondence that we send have a clearly indicated 'unsubscribe' link which can be done at any time.

    13. There is no alternative to the prize offered. 

    14. If for any reason a winner is unable to take the prize as offered, Green Olive Tours reserves the right to award the prize to the next best entry. 

    15. The judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

    These terms and conditions may be changed at the discretion of the organizers.


    Tell your friends. Help spread the word . . . .

    Twit it Sphinn it Add To Del.icio.us Digg it Add To Google Bookmarks Add To Reddit Add To Technorati Add To StumbleUpon Add To Facebook Furl it Subscribe to RSS

    2019 writing competition

    You too can enter the writing competition - Entry page at this link >>
    This entry will not win.

    - Nofel Nawra, UK -

    These lands that appear to be called by this name and that are in truth, the one land, Mother Earth. There will be no peace, in Israel, Palestine or anywhere else. There is no peace within the family, within the community, within nations. Peace begins with me, the individual and can never be found in the organisations of the world, no matter how well-intentioned.

    This perception will not be palatable to the liberal intelligentsia. This perception will be seen to be negative, doom-laden and hopeless. The perception of a mind that has given up, a coward. A mind that has no love, compassion. A mind that has no inkling of the glory of the human spirit when it faces adversity. Perhaps this may be the case. Perhaps I am insane. After all, to live without hope is a form of insanity, isn’t it?

    I wonder if the conquered people down the ages, since the dawn of the tribes and their raping and pillaging had hope? Where are they now? They are all long dead. So far away that we can look at them without any compassion, without any regret. What about the dead of a thousand years ago? Did they not wake every morning with hope in their subconscious? The hope that they would live through the day. How about the first World War? Many will have relatives who fought and died in that calamity, yet it was still quite a long time ago. Come closer yet, the Second World War with countless millions dead. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Africa, South America... Closer yet... Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine... Closer, how’s your relationship with your wife, husband? How’s the family? How are the brothers and sisters doing? All well? Communicating the truth of their lives on Facebook and Twitter?

    Is the truth of civilisation since its inception not proof of Mankind’s insatiable desire to stamp his will upon the blessed Earth? Do we really think that anyone, anything, will stop the slaughter and the coming catastrophes that are waiting for the spark to ignite the end of this dreadful civilisation?

    The tribes are the problem. This tribe against that tribe. My belief against yours. My God is the real God. And who created all of this? I, Man. I who walked out of paradise and thought I could do better. Not doing too well, am I?

    So how am I going to bring peace to such a place? Do I really think that peace will come from some plan, some brainchild of a member of any tribe? There are so many tribes. They proliferate exponentially. Now we have the concerned liberal tribes who see the insanity and fear for their children’s future. The younger, trendy (Probably the children of the older liberal tribes.) tribes who are IT savvy and think they will be different from their mothers and fathers. How many of them have even heard of the phrase: ‘The sins of the fathers.’?

    My opinion against yours. The polarity of existence since day one. You know best. You can solve this problem. Oh yeah?

    It’s too late for mass solutions. Too late for the concerned, well-meaning middle-classes. Too late for the solutions that are partial. The bucket that is Planet Earth is leaking in a thousand places and no amount of good intention brought home by the fear of my own demise will stem the flow. Partial solutions reflect their origins. They come from a partial perception of the problem. The problem is not ‘out there’. It is in me. Me, who is writing these words and me who is reading them. Only when I see that I am to blame for all the ills upon this planet and begin to change the only thing I truly can, myself, is there any possibility that there will be peace ‘out there’. If there is no peace in me, how can anything I come up with have any peace in it? Is that too logical, too outlandish for the professors and the writers and the concerned people of the Earth?

    Also, it’s too hard. ‘Change myself? I’m okay, it’s all the other nutcases.’ The other nutcases are just people. They love their children just like we all do. That’s the problem. The tribes. They love selfishly, personally. My country, my family, my land, my God. As if God belongs to anyone. How stupid and ignorant we are, and we talk of peace. That’s all we’ve ever done.


    Tell your friends. Help spread the word . . . .

    Twit it Sphinn it Add To Del.icio.us Digg it Add To Google Bookmarks Add To Reddit Add To Technorati Add To StumbleUpon Add To Facebook Furl it Subscribe to RSS

    2019 writing competition

    You too can enter the writing competition - Entry page at this link >>
    Understanding the landscape

    - Sandra Manzella, Italy -

    Here we are, silently scanning the landscape. We’re standing in the shadow of the UN observation point in Jerusalem, from which we can have a good view of the Old City and of East Jerusalem area. A little group, only six people including our guide, an Israeli young man, who works for Green Olive Tours.

    “Let’s 'read' what lies in front of us for a while, we’ll talk later”, he says. And that’s exactly what we are doing. Only a few minutes later and our guide is ready to collect our perceptions and to explain the scenery in front of us.

    I’m surprised as I couldn’t imagine to start my visit in this way: I chose a Green Olive tour in order to understand the differences between East and West Jerusalem and I figured out walking along dusty and sunny streets. On the contrary, our guide drove us to this southern hill, from which our eyes can embrace the two defying Jerusalems: we’re going to find out the variety of suburban areas by simply watching the landscape. Not a difficult exercise, if you know where to look.

    There, in the background, stands the Old City, with its shining Dome of the Rock and its protecting ancient walls; coming closer, some villages with bending streets and the high grey barrier, built to defend borders (according to the Israeli government), even though this is a reason for increasing resentment on Palestinian side. On our right, far away, the blue dome of the Palestinian University Al Quds and, behind it, a little further, the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus: two cultural centers, two separated worlds.

    I wonder why we didn’t drive along the straight streets across the villages, instead of coming through modern but external roads. Better not, the guide answers, as the street villages are full of holes and sometimes youngsters throw stones to unknown vehicles.

    Since then, I’ve become a faithful follower of Green Olive and during other tours, I could learn that understanding the landscape meant to focus on what we see, not on our destinations, driving along streets towards North, to Samaria, towards South, to the Dead Sea or towards West, to the West Bank,
    For instance, I learnt how to identify the Israeli settlements around Jerusalem because of their recurring features: barbed wire fences, checkpoints at the entrance with protecting soldiers and the famous red roofs, a Western architecture stranger to Near East buildings. All the settlements have got wide and speedy streets around them.

    Outside Jerusalem there are several checkpoints, some of them only for pedestrians, so that people have to get off their cars. I also learnt that colors can have meanings and can lead to distinct lifestyles: about cars, yellow car plates mean Israeli cars, while green ones are for Palestinians This is a well known difference, hinting to heavy consequences. Colors can also mean vital variations; on Israeli roofs, white cisterns shine in the sun: they’re for solar panels to heat water. On terraces on top of Palestinian houses, the cisterns are black and they preserve water.

    On the hills, the settlements and the Palestinian villages share the same names, just with some slight differences in pronunciation. Everyone can recognise the villages for the slender silhouettes of minarets, the white flat roofed houses and some red roofs, as sometimes Palestinian workers in the settlements re-use constructing materials for their houses.

    In the external quarters of West Jerusalem, out of tall skyscrapers, if you observe the architecture of buildings, you can discover different features related to different stories. Among squared compounds covered by Jerusalem stones, some gentle houses stand out with domes, arches and gardens: they are the abandoned or confiscated houses from last century wars, where Israeli people now live. We know that the old Palestinian owners have kept the keys and hope to come back one day. Lots of literature about that, as well as sad memories and lost lives…

    From all over the world, pilgrims visiting Jerusalem crowd Christian sites, pray and sing in churches, bear heavy wodden crosses in moving processions, but they can’t see the modern Via Dolorosa outside the walls of the Old City.


    Tell your friends. Help spread the word . . . .

    Twit it Sphinn it Add To Del.icio.us Digg it Add To Google Bookmarks Add To Reddit Add To Technorati Add To StumbleUpon Add To Facebook Furl it Subscribe to RSS