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The Palestinian territories consist of two physically separate entities, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in the Middle East. While not yet universally considered part of any sovereign nation, since November 2012, the Palestinian Authority has been upgraded to observer-state status by the United Nations. The Palestinian territories have all been under varying degrees of Israeli governance since 1967, and the final status of the territory remains the subject of ongoing and future negotiations.

An Introduction to the regions of Palestinian territories

Regions of the Palestinian Territories
  West Bank
Bordering Israel to the west and Jordan to the east, including a significant coast line on the Dead Sea. It is de facto under control of Israel and the PNA depending upon the region.
  Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip borders the south-western coast of Israel and Egypt to the south-west. It is de facto under control of Hamas, a rival of the Fatah-controlled PNA.

Reference ##a4c28d West Bank Reference ##D09440 Gaza Strip

Other Muslim friendly Cities in Palestinian territories

  • Bethlehem – an ancient city much like many others in the West Bank, Bethlehem is also the site of Christian holy places such as the Church of the Nativity; it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Gaza – the largest city in the Palestinian Territories, with 450,000 people, Gaza city is a coastal city and the administrative capital of the Gaza Governorate, but it has been heavily damaged in several wars between Israel and Hamas and, due to border closures by Israel and Egypt, you probably can't get in
  • Hebron – highlights include a stunning old city and glass and pottery factories; divided into Palestinian-controlled H1 and Israeli-controlled H2
  • Jenin – the West Bank's northernmost city, only 26km from Nazareth. Its name's meaning is The spring of gardens.
  • Jericho – the "Oldest City in the World" and around 400m below sea level
  • Nablus – considered the commercial capital of the West Bank, it is known for its old city, its furniture trade and the delicious kunafa/kenafeh
  • Ramallah – the administrative capital of the West Bank and temporary host to the PNA, Ramallah is a magnet for Palestinians seeking work as well as foreign activists

Bargaining or also

Bargaining is accepted, especially on markets, but some prices might already be final, e.g. shared taxis or museums. Since also wealthy locals will get inexpensive local prices, there is no reasoning why tourists should pay more. Though, as a tourist it might be hard to find out whether the price you got is fair or inflated because you are considered a tourist. It is best to ask at several different locations to get a feeling for what the price should be. Remember to always thank the merchant for stating the price, even if not buying anything.

A working approach for ho(s)tels is to look up the price on one of the big hotel reservation sites and to walk straight into the chosen hotel stating that seen price. You might get some discount, if not, just trying the next one might convince the guy at the reception to give you a better price.

Touting & guides

Very true also for Palestine Do not rely on taxi drivers or self-proclaimed guides too much for advice or help, otherwise they will cash in on you twice, once for their service and once taking commission from the place they take you. This means, either a restaurant will be touristic with very inflated prices, or a hotel or hotel will add a surcharge when you ask them for the price, especially if the guide or taxi driver stands right next to you. Instead, choose the restaurant and hotel by yourself without them following you, and just use taxi drivers for transport, not as a guide.

Also, do not believe in the common "my cousin (or friend) offers/has got it (something that you are looking for) and I can get it cheaper for you" – the opposite will mostly be the truth, neither will it be his cousin nor will it be cheaper. Always get several independent quotes for things or tours you are interested in, and never get convinced that there is only one option available.

Halal Restaurants in Palestinian territories

Shawarma and falafel sandwiches are really popular foods for Palestinians, as well as olives and hummus. It is traditional to eat with bread and not a spoon or fork. It is unusual to eat a meal without bread.

Try kunafa/kenafeh in Nablus, and fresh fruits from the market in the bigger cities.

In cities such as Ramallah, alcohol is often available at restaurants. Be aware that most residents of the West Bank are Muslims who do not drink alcohol. As such, public intoxication can be seen as rude.

Taybeh Beer is the only Palestinian national beer with 5 and 6 percent of alcohol. It has a mild taste. The Taybeh Beer Brewery is located in Taybeh village and is accessible by taking a shared taxi/private taxi from Ramallah's bus station Taybeh village (inquire for the price of the trip before taking the taxi).


Home stays with Palestinian host families are possible, and can be arranged through a number of organisations.

Many new and inexpensive hostels have opened recently is the bigger cities like Jericho, Nablus and Ramallah.


Local Language in Palestinian territories

The main language of communication is the Palestinian variety of Arabic. Many people will also be familiar with standard Arabic and/or the Egyptian variety of Arabic as both are widely used in media throughout the Middle East.

Local Customs in Palestinian territories

Perhaps because of the association of Yahudi symbols with the Israeli occupation (Israeli military equipment often features prominently a menorah or the Star of David on them) wearing or displaying such symbols, which the Palestinians see as hostile, is not going to win you any friends. Women should dress conservatively and men should also avoid shorts.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Palestinian territories

Palestinians are not more hostile than other people. Even women are more openly (dressed). Just the closeness to especially Jerusalem, triggers a lot of trouble from time to time. The friendliness can sometimes even feel a little overdrawn, since they understand that it is not just an opener to your heart but also to your wallet. Palestine is a totally different feeling from Israel and pretty much like Jordan. Checkpoint tower in Jericho Security concerns result in travel between Israel and the Palestinian Territories being tightly controlled on occasions. Travelers should ensure that their travel documentation is entirely in order and should monitor local news channels in case the security situation changes suddenly. Delays may occur at checkpoints unexpectedly, especially if there has been recent violence or political events, or if you are Arab or Arab-looking. It may be quicker to cross a checkpoint on foot rather than in a vehicle, and then take a taxi to your destination once you get through. It is highly advised to keep Palestinian flags, PA/PLO pamphlets, and similar articles out of plain sight when going through Israeli checkpoints. Many people send their souvenirs from the Palestinian territories home by Israeli-postal service parcels to avoid having to take the Palestinian-themed souvenirs through Ben Gurion Airport and risk being interrogated by Israeli security for long periods of time about their visits to Palestinian cities.

A few hints for a successful trip:

  • Contrary to recent years, most Palestinian cities are at present relatively safe. Regardless, in some areas or at particular times (such as weddings), gunfire can be heard. This appears to be becoming less and less common, however. Also, bear in mind that fireworks are popular in the cities, and it is possible that what you are hearing is not gunfire at all.
  • Always bring a COPY of your passport along with your original and hide the copy in your hotel room.
  • Both Israeli and Palestinian security services may ask for ID, so carry your passport at all times.
  • Show respect at places of worship - take off your shoes. Women shouldn't come into a mosque without covering their heads. It is not usually necessary to cover your face.
  • As a foreigner you are likely to be noticed and many people will call to you as you walk around. This is almost always friendly and well-intentioned although you should be cautious at night in any city.
  • Consider hiring a local tour guide/translator who will also keep you out of trouble.
  • Common sense goes a long way.
  • Use caution around political rallies. You might get hurt from stones, tear gas, etc. Unless you are travelling specifically for this reason, keep your distance from political demonstrations.

Medical Issues in Palestinian territories

Beware of local water, including ice cubes - bottled is the way to go.

Explore more Halal Friendly Destinations from Palestinian territories

Although Gaza has great potential as a seaside resort as it once was, today it is closed for tourism due to the Israeli and Egyptian land, sea, and air blockade. The logical next destinations are the bordering countries of Israel or Egypt, though be aware of the political atmosphere when you are traveling and plan accordingly. This concerns Israel in times of higher tensions, when the border and checkpoints are guarded more heavily, and Egypt due to the fact that Sinai has become a breeding ground for ISIL (Daesh) lately.

King Hussein "Allenby" Bridge – From the West Bank, one can travel to many other Middle Eastern countries, especially Jordan. The Allenby Bridge is an Israeli-managed crossing mainly used by Palestinians to travel internationally because Palestinians are required by Israel to use the airport in Amman, Jordan rather than the airport in Tel Aviv. It's a good idea to try to get to the border as early as possible, especially in the busy summer season. There is no visa-on-arrival available here. If you are using the Allenby Bridge to exit Palestine, you are required to already have either a Jordanian entry visa (preferably a multi-entry visa depending on your schedule) or an entry stamp to Jordan from before (e.g. when you came from Jordan in the first place through the Allenby Bridge, since crossing here from Jordan to Palestine/Israel you will not receive an exit stamp). You can obtain the visa at the Jordanian Embassies in Ramallah or Tel Aviv/Ramat Gan (JOD40/60/120 single, double, multi), or on-arrival when coming to Jordan in the first place, though the free one-month ASEZA (Aqaba) visa cannot be used for going forth and back through the Allenby Bridge. Also see Jordan#Get in for even more details. The exit fee to leave Israel/Palestine is ₪176.

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