You’ve read a lot about Israel and Palestine on my blog and I didn’t broach the politics too often (though I definitely did if you were paying attention), but it was certainly hard for me to avoid while I was there. Not only because I was briefly working for a political nonprofit, but also because I made it a point to keep it on my mind. It really helped to offset the extremely hedonistic time I was enjoying in Tel Aviv, and keep my morality in check.
Like I’ve suggested continually over the past few months, I really feel that tourists to Israel should make a point of knowing and understanding the conflicted (and confusing) history of the land. It’s important for those visiting to be aware of where they are and what has or is happening there. Like every situation there’s more than one side to a story and it certainly helps to see as many of those for yourself.
Visiting the West Bank is on surprisingly few people’s itineraries and yet it’s rather easy (and cheap!) to do. It’s safe though many people don’t believe it. Bethlehem usually pops up on many tourist’s plans, but many choose to go on an organized tour, whether for the ease of being on an air-conditioned bus or because of a fear of being in a conflicted area.
Regardless, it’s actually quite easy to get from Jerusalem to many of the Palestinian cities. When I was briefly in Israel last month I got to meet up with Alex from Hejorama and we went to Ramallah for the day. Alex took the time to put together a video of our day in Ramallah, with me mostly talking about the political situation. Check it out and please share your comments below.