Things may still be politically unresolved, but at least a million tourists a year safely & happily visit the West Bank to explore the rich history & culture in places like Bethlehem, Nazareth, & Jericho (in Gaza there's less to see/do).

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A look at contemporary Palestine

      I just came across this interesting 13-minute video in English from Italian vloggers Guglielmo and Valentia Biason, which combines visits to interesting sites such as the Church of the Nativity, with a good dose of historical and sociological context. Very much worth a watch.        

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'conflict tourism' in Palestine and elsewhere

These days we hear about a few Westerners (mostly young men) who have been going to Syria to get a closer look at the war, and it reminds me of several years when I was working as a guide in Palestine. My clients were, for the main part, politically engaged people of diverse backgrounds, mainly from Europe and the USA, who had been involved with Palestinian solidarity campaigning back home and wanted to see the situation for themselves... keep reading

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  • Hi... Anyone with late information concerning visitors? 

  • Hi David,

    thanks for your response. I'd say the main place not to miss would be Nablus and, if you have time for a day-trip or quick overnight from it, nearby Sebastia. Nablus has some wonderful scenery, great ancient remains, the intriguing Old City, good restaurants and the Samaritan community on the hillside above. It also has a range of hotels to suit different budgets - my favourite, when I can afford it, being the Yasmeen, right in the middle of the Old City souk - http://www.alyasmeen.com/. Sebastia is a gorgeous little village in the hills - olive groves, Greek, Samaritan, Crusader and Ottoman remains and architecture and a fantastic little community tourism centre and guesthouse which can organise hiking etc - see http://palestineguesthouse.com/2011/02/20/sebastia-guesthouse/.

    Enjoy!

  • Congratulations, Sarah, that's great news!  Actually, I was thinking of heading to Israel and the West Bank this March, so I would definitely pick up your book. If I have a relatively short time, where should I absolutely make sure not to miss?

  • Ten Highlights of Palestine in The Guardian's travel section...

  • Bradt Guide to Palestine reviewed in Wanderlust magazine - read more here.

  • New Palestine tourism website Palestine Guesthouses - a not-for-profit initiative listings guesthouses, B&Bs, hostels and homestay projects in the West Bank and in Palestinian communities in Israel. Affordable places to stay which support communities and local economies...
  • Hi Mahmood,

    thanks for letting us know about Bestway's tours; this looks very interesting and seems to be one of very few 'mainstream' tours being offered which include the West Bank (or any more of it that a quick daytrip to Bethlehem). Has Bestway actually run any of these tours yet? I'm interested to know what kind of experience travellers with mainstream agencies have of Israeli immigration if they are open about where they're planning to visit.

    Cheers,

    Sarah

  • The reality of the Palestine-Israel situation can best be understood by actually visiting both countries and discussing with the people who have been most affected. Our extensive tours to the Middle East have now been enriched by a new additional tour called: Palestine & Israel: a journey into reality. This 10days journey (3 nights in Israel and 6 in Palestine) is a comprehensive program that allows encounter with Israelis, ex Israeli soldiers, Druz at the Golan Heights, Palestinians - both refugees living in camps and those housed - we have family visits to both sections and added to that are visits to schools, universities and ofcourse all the many religious sites. View this unique journey:

    http://www.bestway.com/itineraries/t064.php  

  • New blog post on the effects of conflict on tourism, and the rights and wrongs of encouraging tourists to come to conflict-affected areas: http://www.tripatini.com/profiles/blogs/rubbernecking-or-learning

  • New cycle tourism project launched:

    The Siraj Centre in Bethlehem are running a series of cycle tours of Palestine . They start in the Northern city of Jenin and head South to Jerusalem through an olive bedecked landscape to Jericho, Bethlehem and the Judean Desert. The tours are suitable for people of all ages and riders will be accompanied by a support vehicle and guides.

    Cyclists will be met by a Siraj representative at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, and be taken to the Hadad Resort Hotel in Jenin, Palestine, which will be their base for the first evening. As the tour progresses the cyclists will get a chance to witness the dramatic Palestinian landscape, dine not only in first class Palestinian restaurants- but also, on one evening, with local Palestinian families.

    The political dimension of the journey is inescapable. The cyclists will pass the infamous 'Wall', visit one of many refugee camps and hear at first hand the experiences of those who have so long lived under Israeli occupation. What they will see and hear will clarify the hazy impressions given by the Western media.

    The cultural, historical and religious aspects of Palestine will not be overlooked. The tour will visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem , the Mar Saba monastery, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Souk in East Jerusalem , and Hisham's Palace.

    They will dine in the tented restaurant on Shepherd's Hill, take a Turkish Bath in Nablus and pop into the beer factory in Taybeh.

    The people of Palestine are kind and courteous- and their cuisine, a variation of the Mediterranean/Lebanese, is outstanding. The hotels and the guesthouse the travellers will stay in are first class. They will be accompanied by experienced guides and a support vehicle will always be on hand.

    For a detailed description of the tour visit www.bikepalestine.com

    The cost of the 7 day (6 night) tour is £1220 ($1900 US). This includes all meals and accommodation, support vehicles and guides, transportation to and from Ben Gurion Airport , bikes and light 'on-road' refreshments.

    For more information call George Snow on +39 ( Italy ) 0575.690.060 or email george@bikepalestine.com

    http://www.bikepalestine.com/
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