Every Wednesday and Saturday Make a Reservation
Departure time: 8.30am
Return: 4.30pm (16.30)
YMCA, King David Street, Jerusalem - see map
Cost: Shekels NIS 340
Lunch not included • Passports needed
From Jerusalem the tour travels to Bethlehem. Inside the city, the group will visit the Church of the Nativity, and walk through the Old City. You will then visit the Separation Wall and engage in a discussion with the guide about the cultural, religious, and economic impact of the Barrier, and its effect on life in Bethlehem. Then there will be a visit to Deheisha Refugee camp.
The tour will leave Bethlehem and travel to Wadi (valley) al-Naar which bypasses Jerusalem to the south and east, passing settlements, the Separation Barrier, and Palestinian villages en-route. At the end of the Wadi the bus will pass through the Container Checkpoint and enter the village of Sawahreh which is essentially a suburb of east Jerusalem, linked to the city through Abu Dis, while being cut off from Jerusalem by the Separation Barrier that passes through Abu Dis.
The tour will enter Abu Dis and see the Wall which divides the neighborhood, learning about its impact on the life of the community. There will be a visit to Bethany and the Tomb of Lazarus. From Adu Dis the tour continues past Ma'ale Adumim, the largest settlement in the West Bank, traveling on a shared Israeli/Palestinian highway that may soon be cut off to Palestinians due to the new small roads Israel is building to divert Palestinian traffic traveling from the north to the south of the West Bank.
The tour will then travel to Ramallah, entering through the checkpoint into the neighborhood of Kufr Akab. The Separation Barrier divides the neighborhood from Jerusalem although it is part of the municipality and the residents pay city taxes. The group will visit Arafat's Tomb and walk the streets of this bustling city, then lunch. The guide also arranges a meeting with people from Ramallah, which varies from week to week
The final stage of the tour allows the participants to experience the realities of Palestinian public transport between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Only people with foreign passports, and Palestinians with permits or Israeli ID cards are allowed to travel directly to Jerusalem through the checkpoint. The guide will bring the group to the public bus station and put them on the public bus to Jerusalem. The bus will go through Kalandia Checkpoint where passengers may have to walk through while the bus is inspected. Once through the checkpoint the bus will take only fifteen minutes to reach the bus station near Damascus Gate, just a few hundred meters from where the tour started in the morning.
This tour will take you into the bizarre world of Palestinian transportation issues. Traveling from Bethlehem to Ramallah takes about 20 minutes by car through Jerusalem. However due to the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement, the people of Bethlehem and the southern West Bank are forced to travel on a circuitous route to Ramallah which takes about 1 1/2 hours or more, along 'Palestinian Only' roads for most of the trip, and subjected to close scrutiny at several checkpoints. You are invited to share this journey.