In general, you can enter Palestine from three main destinations: Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Queen Alia Airport in Amman, or Cairo Airport. More information at this link:
It takes an average of about two hours, very similar to that of any other country.
No prior visa is needed for Americans, Canadians, and most Europeans to enter Israel and Palestine.
Tourist visas are valid for 90 days; most Americans and Europeans are issued three-month visas upon arrival and clearing customs.
The Israeli government and its agencies are responsible for providing you with a visa either upon your arrival or through its embassies/consulates prior to your visit. The Palestinian Authority is not responsible as it does not control the state borders of Israel.
Yes, you may extend your visa through one of two methods: You may extend your visa through the Israeli Ministry of Interior in Jerusalem on Shlom Tzion Ha Malka Street, just off Jaffa Road near the Old City in West Jerusalem; or you may travel to a nearby country like Jordan or Egypt and re-enter Palestine again where you will likely get a new tourism visa for another 90 days.
Sure you can, the visa that you received upon your arrival will allow you to visit both Palestine and Israel.
Unfortunately, Palestine does not possess any airports to fly through.
Because many Arab countries do not accept Israeli stamps upon passports, Israeli Authorities issue visas on a separate small card with bar code indicating the visa time validity. Please keep this visa card WITH your passport at all times.
The Israeli government and its authorities control the borders of Israel and Palestine at points of entry at Ben Gurion Airport and the Allenby-King Hussein Bridge border crossing on the Jordan-Palestine border. The Palestinian Authority has no control over any borders at any locale or checkpoint. In Gaza, Hamas controls the border with Egypt.
Tourists and volunteers who do come to Palestine find that, although the situation in Palestine may at times be tense, they are largely able to live their daily lives without any particular safety concerns above and beyond those one might find typical of living in big cities. Checkpoints are commonplace and the military presence in occupied Palestine is pervasive, but problems affecting visitors to Palestine are rare. Although there may be occasional traffic delays related to checkpoints, visitors to Palestine are usually able to move freely throughout the West Bank cities.
Yes, people in Palestine are very friendly, and enthusiastic and eager in helping and talking to people from different cultures and countries. The opportunities to interact with internationals will make a Palestinian’s day, and, in turn, this will make your trip more enjoyable and interesting. Traveling around Palestine is very affordable and easy to implement. There is a wealth of taxis, buses, and Services (shared taxis with low fares due to the sharing) to use in order to travel about. All of these modes of transportation, besides allowing you easy travel means, will immerse you into the general population. Palestinians will eagerly help you, direct you, offer assistance, and even offer cell phones for your use (or even make a call for you!). They will relish their new friendship with you no matter how brief!
First, traveling through Jordan means paying more for the tickets when, in most cases, traveling through Ben Gurion airport will result in tickets 30% less expensive. Second, traveling through Jordan means that you must cross two borders, Jordanian and Israeli, in order to enter Palestine. Travel through Ben Gurion, in contrast, allows you to be in Palestine in a few hours. Jordan, however, is the better choice if you want to visit the country before you head to Palestine or if you want to travel to other Arab countries, such as Lebanon or Egypt, after or before you go to Palestine.
The currency in Palestine is the New Israeli Shekel. The Israeli Shekel is symbolized by this symbol “₪”. It is divided into 100 agoras or agorat (cents). The currency abbreviation for the New Israeli Shekel today is “NIS”(New Israeli Shekel). The Jordanian Dinar and the American Dollar, in addition to the shekel, are also used in Palestine in circumstances such as the buying of houses, land, cars, and all high value properties.
No, Palestine is considered to be an inexpensive place to visit compared to other countries. On this link http://gopalestine.org/costs/ you may find a list of items to give you an idea for budgeting. The list compares the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) against an approximate cost in U.S.A dollars.
ATMs exist in all the major cities. Different banks, however, give different currencies. The Bank of Palestine is the only one which will provide you with NIS, the most commonly used currency in the West Bank. You may also withdraw US dollars and Jordanian dinar (JD) from other banks.
It is no problem to come to Palestine carrying American Dollars, Euros and Pound Sterling. In Palestine there are many exchange agencies and agents, as well as banks, where you can easily convert your money to NIS. For up-to-date exchange rates, visit the following website: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
Palestine is a country filled with shops, stores, malls, and supermarkets, from the small “mom and pop” markets to the big modern supermarkets. Whatever you may need, it can be purchased easily.
Travel within Palestine, the West Bank, is accomplished mainly by Service (sherut in Hebrew), a mini-van taxi that carries a number of passengers for smaller fees per person than do private taxis. Generally, Services do not leave for the destination until the vehicle is filled with passengers (usually this occurs fairly rapidly). Taxis begin running from early morning to around nine o’clock in the evening. To use a Service, either go to a spot where Services congregate, or stick your arm out to flag one down as you would a private taxi. Make sure that you ask the driver for the exact price before getting into the vehicle.
Yes, there are many hostels offering accommodation to tourists. For those who are looking for a hostel to stay at in the north of Palestine (West Bank), check one of the following websites to find a hostel to fit your budget: Hostel World website at: http://www.hostelworld.com/ Hostel Bookers at: http://www.hostelbookers.com/ Trip Advisor website at: https://www.tripadvisor.com
In Palestine there are 49 companies providing internet services (ADSL) to customers at affordable prices. While visiting Palestine, you will not face difficulties in accessing the internet in locales you may visit.
Unfortunately, the Third Generation (3G) feature is not available.
People in Palestine are very friendly, and enthusiastic and eager in helping and talking to people from different cultures and countries. You may well be invited for coffee, tea, or even a meal in someone’s home. Culturally, Palestinians are very sensitive to someone who is by him/herself; the culture abhors someone being left alone. This, coupled with the Palestinian culture’s tradition of hospitality, will make immersion into Palestinian culture all the more easy, interesting, and enjoyable for you.
There are many companies from which you can rent a car in Palestine. Renting a car may cost approximately 200-250 NIS per day. One liter of gasoline costs 6 NIS.
Always carry your passport and visa with you when you travel in Palestine. There are many Israeli checkpoints and you may be asked for your documents
Some cities like Hebron or Nablus are conservative and you will not find a night club. There are night clubs in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jericho.
You may find alcoholic drinks sold in Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Jericho. Drinking in public anywhere in Palestine is illegal.
No, the Palestinian food is tasty but not spicy. The Palestinian kitchen includes many dishes and meals that rely on rice, meat and vegetables. Some of the traditional food in Palestine are dishes such as Kibbeh balls, Kibbee bi-siniyyeh, Kibbeh nayyeh, Mansaf, Maqluba (“upside-down” dish), Musakhan, Ruz wa Lahme ma’ Laban , Shish taouk, and Kebab Halabi, to name a few.
Some studies have demonstrated that a significant percentage of the households in Palestine believe their water is of a good quality. The water in Palestine is safe and drinkable for Palestinians, and they experience no ill-effects from using the water for drinking or cooking. For internationals, bottled water is readily available as an alternative water source.
The main language spoken in Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza) is Palestinian Arabic which is a dialect of Standard Modern Arabic (Classical Arabic). There is not a huge difference between the dialects of Gaza and the West Bank. Although English is considered the second language of Palestine, not all people, even a majority of Palestinians, cannot speak it Because of the presence of six hundred thousand Jewish settlers who live in the Palestinian territories, Hebrew has become more common; however, only a few Palestinians are able to speak Hebrew. You may find French, Russian, Italian, and other languages spoken as well because Palestine is a destination for numerous international travelers.
You can study in Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza). There are 14 universities, 18 colleges, an open university for distance learning, and about 20 community colleges. Numerous majors and fields of study are offered at these institutions, including medicine, engineering, dentistry, chemistry, biology, mathematics, political science, history, Arabic literature, English literature, law, international business, cultural anthropology, and international politics to name a few.
Winter in Palestine is about three months’ duration, and the temperature sometimes does fall to zero; however, it does not usually snow in Palestine. In recent years it has snowed only twice. Summers in Palestine are hot. July and August are the hottest months in Palestine. The temperatures may reach 30 degrees celsius (86 Fahrenheit), and even higher some days. Although the summer is hot, the evenings are cool. Evenings are popular for going out to enjoy the cooler weather after a hot day. A sweater or light jacket may be comfortable for evenings. If you are travelling to Palestine during the summer, we recommend that you wear light clothes, and have a light jacket or sweater handy for evening. If you visit Palestine during the winter, warm clothes are really required not only outdoors, but indoors as well since heating systems are not widely used in Palestine.
Wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable, but keep in mind that almost all Palestinian women wear the hijab and fully cover their bodies. If you wear clothing that reveals your arms and legs, it is likely that you will receive a lot of attention. Most female tourists opt for long trousers or pants, or skirts that reach the ankles, combined with loose-fitting shirts that reach the elbows, although t-shirts are also acceptable. In addition, men are advised to cover from their neck to below their knees. Sandals are fine for both men and women.
There are numerous NGO organizations and their volunteers work in many capacities with Palestinian youth and women, as well as with refugees. There are many organizations, institutions, and centers that offer programs for volunteer work, internships, and studying Arabic. These programs can be short or long-term.
Healthcare in Palestine is divided into two parts: government managed healthcare, and private healthcare providers. There has been much progress in medical services since 1967. Accessibility and quality of healthcare have improved, particularly as a result of the advancement and availability of medical technology, along with medical training and education. Medical experience has developed also as a result of the political instability during the first and second Intifadas. Healthcare personnel honed their skills in medical needs such as wound care. Palestine has a total of 80 hospitals. Of that number, 50 are in the West Bank and constitute 62% of the total number of hospitals. There are approximately 2,880 doctors providing quality healthcare to patients within the various centers and units of the Ministry of Health.
It depends on the city you are visiting. In Hebron and Nablus, for instance, men generally do not shake hands with women unless she reaches out first. Hugging is not appropriate there. Ramallah and Bethlehem are more relaxed and you may shake mens’ hands and hug them too.
A woman in any country faces extra risks in terms of security. In Palestine a woman should keep in mind a few things: In general, walking at night, especially by yourself, is not the safest option. Women in Palestine do not generally walk in the streets after dark, so doing so is likely to make you stand out a little bit. Get a taxi or ask for a ride from someone you know just to be safe. If you decide to take a private taxi, make sure to take a yellow one. Finally, you can go out with your friends or visitors you meet, or with your Palestinian host family wherever and whenever you want.
The situation in the Gaza Strip is totally different than the situation in the West Bank. Gaza has faced several wars during the last eight years which has heavily effected its infrastructure and the available governmental services. Gaza is administrated by Hamas, while the West Bank is controlled by the Palestinian National Authority. In addition, Gaza has been under siege by the Israeli Army since 2006. The siege includes preventing the entry and rationing of fuel, electricity, and many goods such as vinegar, biscuits, meat and poultry. The siege also prevents deep-sea fishing. The siege has also resulted in the closure of the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Visits to the refugee camps are possible; however, it is preferable to visit these camps accompanied by one of the locals residents which makes it easier and also provides you with all needed information regarding the situation in these camps.
Understanding and being sensitive to the conservative culture of Hebron and to Palestine overall is your best strategy when engaging in conversation with community members in Palestine. Discussions pertaining to religion and culture are fine, but one should be cautious of when and when not to challenge aspects of both in conversation. If you are travelling from the West, certain topics of discussion that are considered to be a normal part of everyday conversation are generally not something discussed here on a casual basis. Conversations about or including sexuality, for example, is a private and personal matter. Such conversations do not takes place within social situations. Educating yourself on the religious approach to topics such as sexuality is something you should seek to do in order to know how to engage in acceptable conversation in Palestine. In the local schools, teachers should avoid activities and discussions that include taboo topics, such as sex (except in an educational and academic sense). Please be sensitive to the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Engaging in a discussion about politics-related topics is not preferred. If one does enter into a conversation about the conflict with any person, they should be aware of the danger and risks involved when talking openly, especially with the kind of Israeli presence here in Palestine.