The Palestinian Territories  include parts of the West Bank (of the Jordan River) and the Gaza Strip. The territories have been under Israeli occupation since 1967, and are not considered part of any sovereign nation. Their Final Status is still in dispute and remains the subject of ongoing and future negotiation. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA or PA) is the semi-autonomous state institution (created in agreement with Israel and the United Nations) nominally governing the bulk of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip (which it calls "the Palestinian Territories"). The stated outcome of negotiations and Final Status talks is currently regarded as the eventual creation of a new, sovereign state - to be called simply Palestine.
- Gaza Strip - Located near the southwestern coast of Israel and bordering Egypt to the southwest, it is technically under the control of the PNA but controlled by rival group Hamas.
- West Bank - Bordering Israel and Jerusalem to the west, Jordan to the east, including a significant coast-line on the Dead Sea. Under the control of Israel and the PNA depending on the region.
- Beit Lahia
- Gaza City
- East Jerusalem
The Palestinian Territories, in a wider sense and together with Israel, are considered the Holy Land for three of the world's major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Many sites of religious and archeological significance from the so-called Biblical periods are to be found within the current boundaries of the Palestinian National Authority, most notably Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Jericho. The ownership of parts of Jerusalem, of course, although claimed by the Palestinian National Authority, remain disputed, with Israel claiming the city as its undivided national capital.
The current Palestinian Territories are a sub-division of pre-1948, British Mandatory Palestine. United Nations-projected Arab-held areas of the former Mandate were greatly reduced after the 1948-1949 Israel War of Independence, when the embryonic state of Israel was first attacked by its Arab neighbours, then successfully defeated their armies, leading to a re-drawing of the internationally-recognised borders of Israel. Of course, these hostilities were accompanied by much bloodshed and displacement on both sides, much of the focus being on Palestinian refugees who fled in large numbers to neighbouring Arab countries, or to Gaza and the West Bank. The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been under Israeli occupation since 1967. Prior to that, the West Bank was under Jordanian occupation (Jordan annexed the West Bank in 1950 but this was only recognized by themselves and the United Kingdom) and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control.
Currency: Shekels, though US dollars seem to be widely accepted, especially at tourist shops (Jericho and Bethlehem, for example).
Shawarma and falafel sandwiches are really popular foods for the 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.
Taybeh Beer is the only Paletsinian national beer with 5 and 6 percent of alcohol.It is mild and drinkable.
It is possible to study Arabic and other subjects in the West Bank. Specifically at Birzeit University in Ramallah.
If you are interested in learning about the social, political and cultural aspects of Palestinian life, there are several programs and organizations offering courses, workshops or learning tours, such as: The All Nations Cafe in the Bethlehem - Jerusalem area.
Because of ongoing conflict in this area of the world, travellers should take notice of travel advisories issued by various embassies before undertaking travel here. Security concerns result in travel between Israel and the Palestinian Territories being tightly controlled on occasions. Travellers should ensure that their travel documentation is entirely in order and should monitor local news channels in case the security situation changes suddenly.
A few hints for a successful trip:
- Expect to hear gunfire at night. This is not necessarily fighting, but Palestinian factions tend to fire their weapons in the evening and at night for celebrations, noticeability, etc. 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 copy and hide the copy in your hotel room.
- 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.
- Consider hiring a local tour guide/translator who will also keep you out of trouble.
- Beware of local water, including ice cubes - bottled is the way to go.
- Common sense goes a long way.
- Use caution around political rallies, particularly around IDF forces. They have been known to fire tear gas and rubber bullets directly into crowds with little or no warning. Unless you are traveling specifically for this reason, keep your distance from political demonstrations.
Wearing or displaying obvious signs of Jewish faith is not going to win you any friends. Women should dress conservatively and men should also avoid shorts.
Delays may occur at checkpoints unexpectedly, especially if there has been recent violence or political events, and especially if you are Arab or Arab-looking. Sometimes it may be quicker to walk through a checkpoint on foot rather than on 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 checkpoints.
Be sure to carry shekels with you when departing, as there is a departure tax. If you are leaving through one of the ground crossings, such as the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge to Jordan, it's a good idea to try to get to the border as early as possible, especially in the busy summer season.
This page was last edited at 16:58, on 27 March 2009 by HJP. Based on work by Jani Patokallio, All Nations Cafe, Jaakko and Andrew Haggard, Wikitravel user(s) AHeneen and Texugo, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.