Palestina travel info
days, April- May 08
There's no answer to such question, or at least I haven't
found. The best is reformulate it in:
'Which areas are controlled by Palestinian authorities?
Obvious answer: West Bank + Gaza strip? Wrooong!
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) governs only a minimum
part of the West Bank, in particular the cities of Ramallah,
Nablus, Jerico. These areas are forbidden to the Israelis,
while all the other zones, including the whole road network,
are under the Israeli control. This means that traveling
from Jerusalem to Jordan you cross the whole West Bank
always on the Israeli road and you won't even realize
to be in Palestine. While if you want to visit Jerico,
5 km before entering the town you'll find the Israeli
check point to exit Israel, while 1km further the Palestinian
click on to enlarge
Kind of travel:
An independent solo travel
25th April- 8th May08
I need a visa?
No and not even stamped. Your passport won't even be checked
by Palestinian Authorities, but it'll become familiar to the
plenty of minibuses, shared taxi and few slow buses. Distances
are short, but at the check points it can be a loooong wait;
it might even be faster walking through and change vehicle
temperature hot (even in the night), bearable though
not so many cheap places, anyway you might prefer to be based
in Jerusalem having day trips; the cheapest room I found in
Jericho was a dreary place for 15euro
the charming old town in Hebron and walking in Nablus will make
you really feel Palestinian atmosphere
What I disliked:
the Israeli oppression against Palestinian is impressing and
the separation wall jaw-dropping . As for the places itself
I found Jericho dull and uninteresting
after having traveled in Israel, Palestine will turn out cheaper,
not peanuts though. You should consider al least 35 euro/day
for transport, accommodation/ and food
unless you go in the areas where fights are on going (you won't
even be allowed), you'll find only the not-negligible hassle
of the long waiting at the check points
updated info about the off-limits areas (LP Thorn Tree is a
IMPRESSIONS ABOUT PALESTINA
It's hard to write about Israel (or Palestine)
avoiding any political position. I could write about the Palestinian
helpfulness I found or their undeserved bad reputation for being
hostile towards Westerns, but my main take-out from the travel
has been another.
While I approached this travel without any kind of prejudices
towards any of the two parts, I couldn't help feeling the Israeli
oppression over Palestinians. I saw some humiliating scenes
against at the check-points: while the Palestinians standing
in line waiting to pass the young Israeli soldiers were doing
their business as writing at the cell phone. Israeli controls
all the road network in the West Bank, so to travel between
their main cities Palestinians had to pass the Israeli check
points and now with the separation wall obviously there's no
way to exit the country unless towards Jordan. And what about
the Jewish colonies in the West Bank? I know that the past can
explain why Israeli had to reach such extent, but now the conflict
seems far far from a solution.
Three km before entering the town I passed a check point guarded
by Israelis militaries, followed (2 km further) by a much-less-guarded
another one by the Palestinian soldiers. I made both of them
through without any hassle.
In Jericho unless you are eager to pay 100$ at the Sheraton
hotel (shame on you if you do!), you won't have that much choice
for an accommodation: a dreary soviet-like building in the outskirt
of the town was were a stayed.
The town itself is definitely not so interesting besides I felt
a little 'observed'. Anyway I had no problem even walking in
the night on the way back to the hotel. The few tourists who
pass trough Jericho are typically Russians reaching the orthodox
monastery of Qurantul, perched on the rocky edge of a mountain
few km from the town. You can walk a steep trail or get the
And guess what I did?
On foot? Wrong!
I took the funicular! :
However I quickly regretted since crazily overpriced, 10$!!!!!!
The monastery is definitely worth the trip, not only for the
view over Jericho, but also to observe the fanatic Russians
during their ecstasy in front of the 'Madonne con Bambino'.
Next leg: Dead Sea.
[Travelling in Israel]
The following day always being based in Jerusalem,
I visited Bethlehem and Hebron, both using minibuses (you have
almost no other choice in Palestine). Bethlehem is 40min from
Jerusalem and you won't pass through any check point, or better,
you'll pass but only the vehicle exiting Palestine are stopped
and searched. After having obviously visited the 'Basilica della
Natività' I walked to the Dheisheh Refugee Camp, 5 km
from the town. Don't think it's a dangerous and muddy cluster
of tents; the camp is a kind of poor quarter with concrete houses,
but it was quite interesting to walk on Yasser Arafat street,
or see house-size painted pictures of the leader. People where
nice and available for picture, slightly different than the
From Bethlehem in 1h it's possible to reach Hebron by shared
taxi or minibus. The city itself has a bad reputation since
a colony of 600 Jewish ultra-orthodox lives in the Muslim old-town,
guarded by more than 2.000 militaries, so fights are frequent.
Despite its tension, the old town is a kind of jewel and the
building shared by the holy synagogue and the mosque has a unique
atmosphere. I didn't have any problem, but walking around can
be annoying due to the endless number of check points, and be
sure you won't pass unobserved!
The real experience has been to enter Israel crossing the check
points at the separation wall near Bethlehem. The whole big
check point is underground and you'll feel like going into a
prison: barbed wire, steel barriers , cameras everywhere,
The last day of my travel I crossed again the separation wall
to visit Ramallah. This lively town, it's the effective capital
of Palestine (the formal one is Jerusalem), where the government
is settled. Ramallah was also the head quarter of Yasser Arafat
and nowadays a brand new memorial has been built. In a such
chaotic place, it's quite suggestive to visit this peaceful
and tidy place.
Here I took a shared taxi to reach in 1h the Huwwara check point
where I got dropped off and I passed the normal procedures.
Entering Nablus it's quite smooth and quick, while exiting it
can take time. Finally I took a taxi to cover the few km to
The city itself has no highlights, but you breath a very Arabian
atmosphere. At first I wasn't at ease since feeling a little
observed, as not many foreigners walk around. Anyway I found
people very nice and helpful, even greeting me while passing.
After having had a tea (here it's a kind of ritual), I began
my long travel to the Tel Aviv airport: taxi to Huwwarra check
point, (by passing the long queue thanks to the soldiers), bus
to Ramallah (passing the check point), minibus to the separation
wall, passing the underground check point, minibus to Jerusalem,
minibus to Tel Aviv and taxi to the airport. For the whole thing
it took 4 hours.
Goodbye Israel & Palestine.