MP Jonathan Reynolds gained a glimpse of the realities of daily life in the Palestinian territories last week.
The seven-day visit to the region was organised by Christian Aid, which works with local organisations in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
And Jonathan was one of a small number of MPs who agreed to travel to the region to gain a first-hand understanding of life in the region.
Christian Aid has a long tradition of working with local organisations in the region to support the poorest and most vulnerable on human rights and development issues.
And during the trip Jonathan met with a number of Christian Aid's partner organisations, including members of the ‘Breaking the Silence' project and EAPPI volunteers.
The Breaking the Silence project was set up by former Israeli soldiers in 2004 in order for them to publish their testimonies about their military service in the West Bank, the Gaza strip and East Jerusalem.
During the visit Jonathan also met with volunteers taking part in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Ecumenical Accompaniers spend up to four-and-a-half months in the region, supporting Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and providing protection by their presence.
Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds said: "Christian Aid is one of a significant number of organisations that carry out important work in the region.
"In addition to supporting the work of a number of partner organisations, they are also committed to helping politicians gain a fuller understanding of the situation.
"And I am pleased to have been offered a place on this visit, which I hope has given me a fuller understanding of the realities of life for Israelis and Palestinians living in the region."
EAPPI is organised by the Council of World Churches. And, following his return, Jonathan hopes to visit a number of local congregations to talk to church-goers about the work of the scheme.
Published 21 June, 2011