By Aurora Samuelsson, Senior Engagement Manager at GES
GES is currently conducting field research in Israel and the West Bank together with some of our clients to gain more understanding and knowledge about the realities and challenges facing companies operating in this area.
After only four days in Israel and Palestine I have been shown five different maps over the same area and that is very symbolic for the situation here. Thanks to more than 15 meetings with several companies, NGOs and other stakeholders we have gained a better understanding of the complexities. Adding to that is the valuable first-hand experience of just being here and seeing the contrasts between the beautiful beaches and hectic business life of Tel Aviv on one hand and the everyday life in a settlement and at a check point in the West Bank on the other.
One of our main challenges here is to underline our independence, one of the corner stones for GES in its work. In this region, just by meeting with a person, being at a certain place, using a specific word or even eating something particular can be sensitive and interpreted as a political act. However, by meeting and listening to a wide spectrum of people we affirm our impartiality and open-mindedness and all meetings so far have been very rewarding. No written report or news clip could ever give the same understanding as we are experiencing. There are pieces of this puzzle that only can be found through personal encounters and we are grateful for the pieces we have been given during our time here. That has already brought us to a new and deeper level in our dialogue with companies and stakeholders in this area.