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Anyone ever traveled to the West Bank?

 
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piratebryan



Joined: 21 Feb 2008
Location: Nonyeon

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:58 am    Post subject: Anyone ever traveled to the West Bank? Reply with quote

I'm planning a trip to the West Bank in a few months and am curious if anyone else has ever been. There is scant information on visiting the West Bank, as it is not a very popular tourist destination. But, there is a current trend to build tourist infrastructure in major cities like Jericho and Ramallah.

So...who's been? I'm curious to hear from any Palestinians living in Korea too. Please, I'm not asking for anyone's opinion on the current complexities of Israeli/Palestinian relations...just advice on visiting.
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Adventurer



Joined: 28 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as tourism in the West Bank, I went there many years ago on a visit. It's been quite a while. You could go to Bethlehem. There is the Church of the Nativity, Manger Square in Bethlehem. Ramallah as far as I know has a very lively seen with new, trendy cafes, restaurants, and clubs. You can see beautiful mountains in the area of Nablus and Mount Gerzeem. Of course, there is also the Dead Sea. A lot of people love that Dead Sea Mud.
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Gamecock



Joined: 26 Nov 2003

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in the west bank for a couple of years. Taught in Bethlehem. However, that was 12 years ago, and some things might have changed since then.

The west bank is quite depressing, actually. It is filthy and garbage is everywhere as there is no infrastructure to take care of such issues. The Palestinian people are quite lovely and hospitable on the whole, and if you get away from the few tourist sites you are bound to have some interesting discussions over coffee or a meal.
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piratebryan



Joined: 21 Feb 2008
Location: Nonyeon

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in interesting conversations with people rather than visiting all of the religious sites (although I'm sure I will do that). This isn't a "tourist" vacation per se.

Are their enough decently priced hotels or hostels? What about public transportation around and between cities? Doable? I want to hit Jericho, Ramallah and Jerusalem definitely.
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Adventurer



Joined: 28 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

piratebryan wrote:
That is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in interesting conversations with people rather than visiting all of the religious sites (although I'm sure I will do that). This isn't a "tourist" vacation per se.

Are their enough decently priced hotels or hostels? What about public transportation around and between cities? Doable? I want to hit Jericho, Ramallah and Jerusalem definitely.


Well, Palestine has developed a lot in the past 12 years. That's especially true of Ramallah. You'll find plenty of trendy cafes, a night life, good restaurants. Nablus has developed somewhat in the past several years.
As far as transportation, you should be able to call taxis. The locals are very warm and would help you get around.

Check this website for more information:

http://www.visitpalestine.ps/


http://electronicintifada.net/content/visit-palestine-says-west-banks-growing-alternative-tourism-industry/8343

You will find the people are extremely warm unless you're an Israeli. Then, it's understandably at your own risk. There is an occupation as you know, but they're definitely interested in talking to Westerners about their plight and making friends. Why are you interested in the West Bank?
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alwaysbeclosing100



Joined: 07 Feb 2009

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:14 am    Post subject: re Reply with quote

there have been and likely always will be christian tourists going to bethlehem in the west bank. it is a huge source of tourism $$$. no matter what the current security situation this source of $$$ doesnt get bothered too much by any group.

visiting jerusalem is no problem. it is controlled by the israelis so it is safe.

i havent been to jericho so i cant give any info.

ramallah is the HQ of the Palestinian National Authority. lots of triggering events could cause the israelis to bomb it. dont buy the hype that fatah has solid control of the west bank. hamas always has and will hate them. hamas ran them out of gaza with their tail between their legs.

the security situation in the west bank is always dynamic and complex just from the settlement map alone. security in the west bank can go south very fast at any time.

about 5000 different things affect stability in the west bank........

i have been lots of places that were considered dodgy and risky.........the ideal situation is to visit all countries in the region and make your own judgment.......
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Adventurer



Joined: 28 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: re Reply with quote

alwaysbeclosing100 wrote:
there have been and likely always will be christian tourists going to bethlehem in the west bank. it is a huge source of tourism $$$. no matter what the current security situation this source of $$$ doesnt get bothered too much by any group.

visiting jerusalem is no problem. it is controlled by the israelis so it is safe.

i havent been to jericho so i cant give any info.

ramallah is the HQ of the Palestinian National Authority. lots of triggering events could cause the israelis to bomb it. dont buy the hype that fatah has solid control of the west bank. hamas always has and will hate them. hamas ran them out of gaza with their tail between their legs.

the security situation in the west bank is always dynamic and complex just from the settlement map alone. security in the west bank can go south very fast at any time.

about 5000 different things affect stability in the west bank........

i have been lots of places that were considered dodgy and risky.........the ideal situation is to visit all countries in the region and make your own judgment.......


Ramallah is fine. It hasn't seen any major problems in the past several years. The security situation could possibly break down in the future as the Palestinians become more frustrated with the status quo. As I've shown with the links there is plenty of tourism in Ramallah as there is in Bethlehem. Ramallah is full of Palestinian-Americans who can speak very good English. It is the most liberal part of the West Bank, which is good and bad. Bethlehem is more geared for the religious tourists. I don't know if there is much to see in Jericho. I saw it more as just a stopping point to get to the Dead Sea.
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

piratebryan wrote:
That is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in interesting conversations with people rather than visiting all of the religious sites (although I'm sure I will do that). This isn't a "tourist" vacation per se.

Are their enough decently priced hotels or hostels? What about public transportation around and between cities? Doable? I want to hit Jericho, Ramallah and Jerusalem definitely.


There are shared taxis that you can take and mini-buses between Jerusalem and all those places. Might have to deal with checkpoints and the like though. Don't know what the hotel situation is like. You might want to check out couchsurfing too. (www.couchsurfing.org). Have no idea if there are any people who host in the West Bank, but if there are, that'd be a very interesting experience.
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piratebryan



Joined: 21 Feb 2008
Location: Nonyeon

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adventurer wrote:
piratebryan wrote:
That is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in interesting conversations with people rather than visiting all of the religious sites (although I'm sure I will do that). This isn't a "tourist" vacation per se.

Are their enough decently priced hotels or hostels? What about public transportation around and between cities? Doable? I want to hit Jericho, Ramallah and Jerusalem definitely.


Well, Palestine has developed a lot in the past 12 years. That's especially true of Ramallah. You'll find plenty of trendy cafes, a night life, good restaurants. Nablus has developed somewhat in the past several years.
As far as transportation, you should be able to call taxis. The locals are very warm and would help you get around.

Check this website for more information:

http://www.visitpalestine.ps/


http://electronicintifada.net/content/visit-palestine-says-west-banks-growing-alternative-tourism-industry/8343

You will find the people are extremely warm unless you're an Israeli. Then, it's understandably at your own risk. There is an occupation as you know, but they're definitely interested in talking to Westerners about their plight and making friends. Why are you interested in the West Bank?


Thanks, this is immensely helpful. I'm in a graduate program studying security and conflict. I have a month long vacation in April and thought I should make it useful and gain some first hand experience with the situation. Much of what we read in the mainstream news has an obvious Israeli slant...I want to try to find as unbiased perspective as possible. Thanks alot for this info!
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Adventurer



Joined: 28 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

piratebryan wrote:
Adventurer wrote:
piratebryan wrote:
That is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in interesting conversations with people rather than visiting all of the religious sites (although I'm sure I will do that). This isn't a "tourist" vacation per se.

Are their enough decently priced hotels or hostels? What about public transportation around and between cities? Doable? I want to hit Jericho, Ramallah and Jerusalem definitely.


Well, Palestine has developed a lot in the past 12 years. That's especially true of Ramallah. You'll find plenty of trendy cafes, a night life, good restaurants. Nablus has developed somewhat in the past several years.
As far as transportation, you should be able to call taxis. The locals are very warm and would help you get around.

Check this website for more information:

http://www.visitpalestine.ps/


http://electronicintifada.net/content/visit-palestine-says-west-banks-growing-alternative-tourism-industry/8343

You will find the people are extremely warm unless you're an Israeli. Then, it's understandably at your own risk. There is an occupation as you know, but they're definitely interested in talking to Westerners about their plight and making friends. Why are you interested in the West Bank?


Thanks, this is immensely helpful. I'm in a graduate program studying security and conflict. I have a month long vacation in April and thought I should make it useful and gain some first hand experience with the situation. Much of what we read in the mainstream news has an obvious Israeli slant...I want to try to find as unbiased perspective as possible. Thanks alot for this info!


I know a tonne about Palestine and the West Bank, but I haven't had the funds to go. I wouldn't mind going in February? I am going to Turkey, but I am not sure if I can also stop in Palestine. I'd be happy even to go there for like 5 days.

I know people in the West Bank, but I am only currently in touch with a guy from Al Khalil, which is the Palestinian name for Hebron.
The mainstream news in America is very clearly pro-Israeli in terms of its bias. It's not as much the case in Canada. Some of the bravest folks in terms of covering the truth were some American Jews who believe in the universality of human kind like Mike Wallace, Ted Koppel, but not Wolf Blitzer. The media in England and France is more likely to report controversial things about Israel and to grill Israeli spokesmen, but American reporters are often scared to do that. People in the foreign service are also afraid to do that, but that's changing, the tide is changing slowly. You have had former members of AIPAC serve in various administrations.
There are many settlements all over the West Bank, and they look like very nice. They're subsidized by the Israeli government while Israelis in the Green line find it hard to find affordable housing.
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BananaBan



Joined: 16 Nov 2011

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iv traveled to the west bank

its pretty cool, not as dangerous as you may think ( as opposed to what the media conveys)

also, alot of ppl on the street, especially along storefront street will talk to you in attempt to try to sell you things
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lemak



Joined: 02 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been to Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem etc.
Crossed in and out from Jordan.
The checkpoints are a huge pain in the ass. Especially the Israeli controlled border crossing across the Allenby/Hussein bridge (or whatever it is known by these days). Allow at least 2 hours to get into Israel from here (may still be faster than flying into Tel Aviv, however).
Nowhere near as dangerous as the media portrays. In contrast to their backpacker bretheren, the (non military at least) Israelis are lovely. Palestinians likewise, however the relative poverty there as opposed to their Jewish neighbors creates a bit of a money hungry desperation. Understandable.
Fascinating part of the world. Should be on everyone's bucket list.
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lemak



Joined: 02 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the Dead Sea sucks, by the way. Every invisible, microscopic cut you have from shaving or scratching will sting like hell. Interesting to see/swim in, but after 10 mins you'll likely be ready to get out and take a shower.
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