Palestine or the Palestinian territories are in the Middle East. Geographically, Palestine refers to the entire area of the State of Israel, which was proclaimed in 1948, including the areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that have been occupied since 1967. To this day, there is no “State of Palestine”, although in the past years and decades there have been repeated negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in order to achieve Palestinian independence. Swiss diplomats speak of "occupied Palestinian territory."

A future state is to emerge on the territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; However, the West Bank in particular is still largely under Israeli administration, the arbitrary creation of Jewish settlements and the erection of fences along roads lead to a completely fragmented area.

Until the 1967 war, the West Bank was part of Jordan and the Gaza Strip was part of Egypt. The autonomous Palestinian territories on the West Bank are a patchwork quilt that diplomats pieced together in the Oslo Accords.

The Palestinian Territories consist of two non-contiguous regions: the smaller area is that of the Gaza Strip, a densely populated stretch of coast between southern Israel and Egypt's Sinai. The region with the larger area is the West Bank, sometimes called the West Bank, further to the east and north-east, which lies between Israel and Jordan; the Jordan and the Dead Sea form the eastern border of this area.


Getting there

A passport that is still valid for at least six months is required for entry. A visa does not need to be applied for. Entry and exit to the West Bank is only possible through Israeli-controlled entry/exit points. Experience has shown that Palestine is cordoned off and entry/exit points are closed on high Jewish holidays. Armed clashes may break out at checkpoints controlled by Israel. The checkpoint Qalandia (31° 51′ 42″ N 35° 13′ 41″ E), located between Jerusalem and Ramallah, is particularly affected.

Tourist entry into the Gaza Strip has not been possible since 2014.

Foreign exchange regulations
The import or export of funds (cash, cashier's checks, traveler's cheques) with a total value of 80,000 shekels must be declared. The relevant “Customs Form No. 84” can be requested by calling +972-2-658 7777.

By plane
Arriving by plane will therefore (have to) usually be via Israel's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv or another Israeli airport, but travelers to the West Bank also often use Amman Airport (Jordan) and travel from Jordan via the Allenby bridge into the West Bank.

The Israeli air force has bombed the EU-financed Gaza airport. It is still closed in 2019.

By train
There are no rail connections to the Palestinian territories.

By bus
There are regular buses to Palestine from the bus station at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Getting to Bethlehem or other areas is easy and cheap.

In the street
If the authorities allow it, entry from Israel is possible. From the West Bank there is a border crossing to Jordan (King Hussein/Allenby Bridge), from the Gaza Strip there is also a crossing to Egypt.

Egypt has now reopened its border with the Gaza Strip. However, only Palestinians (and diplomats, etc.) are allowed to enter and exit via this border crossing. Therefore, foreigners only have the checkpoint in Erez - but this requires a special permit, which is very difficult to obtain.

With an Israeli rental car, visiting these cities, which are located in the so-called A and B areas, is generally not permitted. It is theoretically possible to drive around Palestine in an Israeli rental car, but not a good idea. Burnt-out cars with Israeli license plates can often be seen. It is better to enter by bus from Israel and then take a taxi and arrange a flat rate that can be paid in shekels, Jordanian dinars or US$. A full day tour of Palestine is possible for $50 and the taxi driver knows interesting places.

By boat
Entry by ship is currently not possible because the Gaza Strip has been sealed off by an Israeli naval blockade for years.



Public transport consists mainly of (modern) VW minibuses and some larger buses. The minibuses, called Servis, leave as soon as they are full (each seat occupied by one person) and are not "packed" too full and there are so many that you never have to wait too long. The driving style is also rather defensive, since the country is quite hilly and winding on the one hand, and on the other hand the many checkpoints impede traffic.

An alternative is a taxi, where you absolutely have to negotiate a flat rate beforehand. If you hire the taxi for the whole day, $100 should be enough, maybe half if you're good at negotiating.


A local dialect of Arabic is spoken. The Jewish settlers usually speak Hebrew or Russian. At the tourist attractions you will mostly find people who speak English.

As everywhere in the region, the "weekend" is primarily based on the religion of the business owner. Day off can be Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Opening hours are usually 8am-1pm and 4pm-7pm or later.

There is little to buy that is of interest to the tourist. The usual souvenirs can be found right next to the tourist attractions.

The food hardly differs from that of other countries in the Middle East, such as e.g. B. Lebanon.

public holidays
Holidays are Jan 1: New Years Day, May 1: Labor Day, the "Independence Day:" Nov 15, and Christmas only on Dec 25.

There are also the movable Muslim Ras as-Sana (July 19, 2023), Islamic New Year on 1 Muharram. Isra and Mi'raj is the "ascension of Muhammad," in which the mosque in Jerusalem is central. First (March 22, 2023) and last (April 21, 2023) day of the fasting month of Ramadan, i.e. Beginning of Eid al-Fitr, on 1 Shawwal (April 22, 2023) - two to four day festival of breaking the fast. Four-day Islamic Festival of Sacrifice (ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā) beginning on 10 Dhū al-Ḥidjah (28 June 2023). Birthday (mulid/maulid) of the Prophet Muhammad on 12 Rabi' al-auwal (September 27, 2023).

Police: ☎ 100
Emergency doctor: ☎ 101
Fire brigade: ☎ 102

As a tourist, you don't automatically live dangerously in Palestine. Arabs (or those who look like them) are generally checked more closely, a German passport means that there are often no checks of any kind. If the accompanying taxi driver is wearing a camera of the German and you say so during the check, then he will not be checked either. Of course, this does not always have to be the case, but it shows that the needs of tourists are given priority.

Larger crowds of people, especially demonstrations, should be avoided in any case, as these often become violent and the law enforcement officers then use firearms. Armed attacks by the Israeli army can also occur at any time. The houses and livelihoods (e.g. olive groves) of entire families are often destroyed, provided that only one family member is suspected of anti-Israeli activities. Court orders or convictions are not a requirement.

See the notes on hospitals in the respective local articles.

The climate is no different from that in Israel.

Practical hints
Consulates of European countries, usually called “representative offices”, are in Ramallah.

What was said about Israel applies to post and telecommunications. General experience shows that parcels from abroad to the occupied territories take longer to travel than to Israel.