Is it safe & easy to travel from Israel to the West Bank?

JeninIs it safe & easy to travel from Israel to the West Bank? Tourists, international volunteers, interns, students, and visitors have many questions about the safety and logistics of travelling from Israel to the West Bank. For example – how can you get there and what kind of transport is available?

Generally speaking, there is no direct public transport available from Tel-Aviv, Israel to the West Bank. First, you will need to travel to Jerusalem, and then from Jerusalem you can get a shared taxi to whatever your destination is in the Palestinian territories (Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Salfeet, Tubas etc.).

Palestine is not a big country, so travelling from the north to the south takes around 3-4 hours, and getting from Jerusalem to any city in the West Banks only takes about 2-3 hours by a shared taxi. However, sometimes you must be prepared to wait, because shared taxis only depart when the vehicle is full.

Shared taxis run 7 days a week, from around 6 am to 9 pm. However, if you choose to travel on a Friday, you should be mindful of the more limited options you will have, as it is a Muslim holiday. If you must travel on a Friday, you will need to travel early in the morning and return before sunset if you want to return on the same day.

Many internationals make day trips between the West Bank, Palestine and Israel. Travelling from and around West bank, Palestine and Israel is really easy and safe, and if you need help you can ask anyone any questions, as Palestinians are always eager to help you even if you do not speak Arabic. As Palestine is such a small country, travel is also very cheap.  

What about the cost of traveling between Israel and West Bank?

The cost of travelling to the West Bank by shared taxi is quite cheap, possibly less than 100 NIS (around 25$). A private taxi will of course cost more. However, private taxis will take you directly to your destination without you having to make changes during your journey.

Can I ask for a private taxi to travel to West Bank?

Of course, you can but as mentioned above, it will cost you considerably more than shared transport. The minimum cost from a private taxi directly from the airport to the city of your choice will be about 400 NIS.

The taxis that carry an Israeli car plate (a yellow plate) can easily travel to the West Bank, but Palestinian taxis are not permitted to enter Israeli areas.

Is it safe to go to the West Bank?

The West Bank is generally safe, and many international visitors visit every year, getting to know the Palestinian lifestyle, and getting a first-hand experience of what life in Palestine is like. Many international people come to Palestine for tourism, to work and intern, and to volunteer. Many of them come to work for the over 500 non-governmental organizations that operate in the West Bank. People would not come to Palestine if the situation were unsafe.

Tourists and volunteers who do visit Palestine find that in general, although the situation in Palestine may at times be tense, they are largely able to live their lives without safety concerns above and beyond those which one might find in any big city.

So, the golden rule is to take normal safety precautions that you would take in any other part of the world, and you will enjoy your visit to Palestine