Soldiers and airports
Travelling in Israel and the West Bank is in general quite safe. No muggings, thefts, rapes or things like that, extreamely safe. Keep an eye on your money when wandering around in the busiest areas of a market or something, but that is something we would do back home as well...
Be careful on public transportation in Jerusalem. Unfortunately it happens that busses are blown up. If you are worried, hire a taxi instead.
The IDF soldiers in the checkpoints won't harm you, especially since you are a foreigner, and in the West Bank they often want to talk to you, but be VERY careful if you want to take their photo, that is NOT allowed. ... Don't push it in any situation if they tell you you can't pass, they have the power. Being difficult could also cause you problems getting out of the country and also make it difficult to go to Israel sometime later.
If you have been to the Palestinian areas, you'll for sure get problems in the security check at the airport when leaving Israel. Be honest and tell them straight away that you have been to the occupied territories and let them do their thing. Checking every page of each book and every peice of clothing you wear and bring will take hours, so be at the airport with at least 3h to spare and be prepared to be questioned and searched. They will try to scare you and question you with different people, but don't stress out and answer truthfully. They will let you go in the end. Do not bring a computer unless you have to, it will get you in trouble travelling in and out as they'll check it and question you for hours about the contens and what you'll use it for.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
always have your passport...
... when travelling in the palestinian territories as you need it at every checkpoint you pass. If you forget it in your hotel you can as well turn around and go back because nobody lets you through without your passportRelated to:
- Women's Travel
Obviously, now is probably not the ideal time to visit the West Bank and Gaza. Unless you you're there as a peace activist, wishing to show the people solidarity. It's impossible to travel around the Palestinian territories unless you feel like spending hours at checkpoints. However, having lived there until recently, I rarely felt my life was threatened. It certainly is not Iraq where there seems to be total lack of law and order. Consider Palestine to be under a more 'organized' (?) occupation. Plus, westerners per se are not targeted.
Here is Qalandya checkpoint where I often watched Israeli soldiers shoot at little school boys while other civilians had to try to avoid the tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. Another danger of course is if you're driving in a yellow-plated Israeli car - you might be mistaken for an Israeli settler by Palestinian gunmen...and whatever you do, make sure you stop at the checkpoint or you risk being shot at as a potential threat to Israeli security, in other words a potential terrorist.Related to:
- Work Abroad
Not far away, over the hills...
Not far away, over the hills to the east, is another special water adventure: the Ma'in hot springs, now developed as a comprehensive spa, with a four star hotel, leisure, bathing and therapeutic facilities.
The red tape, and lots of it!
It's not the best time to visit now, but if you do decide to go, make sure that all your papers are in order when you cross the border. Don't wear or behave suspiciously and be quiet. In the streets of Bethlehem, be sure to wander around a bit, but be careful of pickpockets. As in so many other places, use common sense!
Risky Cities in Palestine !
Some cities in the West Bank are a little risky to visit if you don't have contact to somebody local or international organizations on the ground. You can go there but you have to take higher risk then in other cities.
Those cities are: Nablus, Tulkarem, Qualquilia, Jenin. Those are the places, where the Israeli Forces and Palestinian Militants clash once and awile.
For the security situation in other slightly unsafe cities like Hebron you can for example ask your embassy or even the bus driver before you go there.
Besides those sites in the West Bank whole the Gaza Strip is to be considered very risky and it is still quite a no-go for travellers.
If you want to travel to those places I recommend going with a NGO or IO or contact somebody who is living there.
For going into the Gaza Strip you need to apply for a permit anyway and this can take a while (It took me four months to get one).
(See also my Guidebook Tip)Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Road Trip
Dont irritate the Israeli army!
To get to Palestine you have to fly to Tel aviv. Do not wear "free Palestine" tee shirt". Yes I know it sounds obvious but some people arrive with all sorts of peace badges, pro Palestine books and literature... and they get turned away at the airport.
Also if you are Muslim you may have problems in getting into the country, in fact the Israelis turn about 80% of Muslims away at the airport.Related to:
- Study Abroad
Do not explore yourself under the sun for longer than 1 hour, this will cause skin canser, because the sun shine was extremly strong... unless you use sun lotion.
you are in a military...
you are in a military territory,always keep away from the local problems,and do not get involved;you could get killed just for coughing on a wrong place
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