Experience as a Woman Visiting Palestine: While there are more general concerns about the safety of a visit to Palestine, such as the political situation, solo women travellers may have more specific safety concerns about travelling around Palestine on their own, as they may be a target for gender-based violence (as they are in many other countries). While you will certainly attract much more attention being a solo female traveller, and some of this attention may make you feel uncomfortable at times, it is perfectly possible to travel in relative safety in Palestine, as long as you use your common sense, and follow some simple advice.
In most areas, as a woman you will attract less attention and therefore feel safer if you dress modestly. What this entails may depend on the area. Annabel, an intern at the Excellence Center in Hebron says that “for Hebron, which is a religiously conservative city, women should cover up to the ankle, and to below the elbow”, which will make them feel more comfortable. However, in more tourist friendly cities such as Bethlehem, a t-shirt would be acceptable. You should also try to avoid tight clothing. By respecting community values, you may attract less negative attention.
Solo women travellers to Palestine should keep aware of the differences in cultural norms in Palestinian culture, and thus avoid situations which may put you in more danger. For example, refrain from physical contact with men, even if it seems innocuous to you, because unrelated men and women in Palestinian culture rarely touch. Try to avoid situations where you are alone with one man you hardly know, or if you are the only woman amongst many men – these situations may feel uncomfortable if nothing worse. Erica, a student at the Excellence Center, recommends that women “try to avoid walking alone at night, especially when the streets are emptier”. Following some of the behaviours of local women will help you stay safe – Palestinian women also rarely walk streets alone at night.
It may be more tough for a solo woman to travel alone in Palestine than in a group, but there are also advantages. For example, women may gain more insight into other women’s lives in Palestine, that a male traveller would not be able to access. As a solo traveller, women can still have lots of safe fun, as long as they use their common sense and act responsibly.