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Why Palestine does not possess trains, trams or buses ? Travel Around Palestine 

Why Palestine does not possess trains, trams or buses ?

Palestine geographically is a small country which does not take so many hours to travel between its cities. It might take you 4 hours maximum to cross Palestine from the north to the south.

Thus, the possibility of setting trains, trams is less in a small area like Palestine. In addition, all highways that connect the Palestinian cities are controlled by the Israeli government which means that making this kind of means of transportation depends on the approval of the Israeli authorities.

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These highways are shared between Israeli settlers and Palestinians at the same time because the cost of the establishment of highways for Israelis is too expensive adding to this the geographical constraints because of the mountains, particularly in the southern areas of the West Bank.

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Usage of this kind of means of transportation require huge budgets which the Palestinian government could not afford as well as the constrains imposed by Israel. Projects like this must be supported by international organizations especially for a case like Palestine which does not possess stable economy as well as to the restrictions on the exploitation of the available resources due to the policies of the occupation.

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As been mentioned above, Palestine is relatively small comparing to other countries, thus taxis and mini-vans is quiet enough for such a country. Israel has such kind of means such as trams, buses and trains because it has wider spaces than Palestine has as well as the stability of their economy adding to this no restrictions imposed on it like Palestine which is not a state yet.

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How the Palestinian transportation system looks like ?

Travel within the West Bank, is accomplished mainly by Service (sherut in Hebrew), a mini-van that carries a number of passengers for a smaller fee 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. Then, get in, get comfortable, and as you drive along pass your NIS to the driver as the other passengers do. The driver will pass back to you, via the other passengers, any change due you. You can ask the driver to stop at any point during the journey, since in Palestine there are no scheduled stops that the Service must stop at. Simply ask and the driver will stop accordingly.

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Within the West Bank Services fees can range from 15 to 40 NIS one-way, per person, depending on the distance of the drive. Within cities private taxis will range in fees from two to fifteen NIS. As with the Service, make sure you ask the private taxi driver the exact price to go to your destination before you get into the taxi.

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It is worth mentioning that taxis, cars, and Services that carry Palestinian registration plates are not allowed to enter Jerusalem; those that carry Israeli registration plates are freely allowed to enter the Palestinian areas upon the approval of the driver.

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During travel between and among cities, be sure to keep your passport and visa with you so that you are fully prepared to show proper paperwork when asked to show them when requested by IDF soldiers at Israeli checkpoints. These checkpoints are set up to separate the Palestinian cities and maintain effective control over the Palestinian occupied territories; therefore, at the entrance of each city there is an Israeli checkpoint where you may be asked to produce your passport and visa, as well as queried as to your destination. With proper paperwork there are generally no worries at all, and you can easily cross these checkpoints without any problem.

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Below we present some approximate one way (double these for roundtrip) costs of local Service transportation between Ramallah and other cities in Palestine :

Ramallah to Hebron: 27 NIS (around $7 US)

Ramallah to Nablus: 18-20 NIS (around $5 US)

Ramallah to Jerusalem: 14 NIS (around $4 US)

Ramallah to Jenin: 35 NIS (around $9 US)

Ramallah to Jericho: 18 NIS (around $5 US)

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