National HolydaysWhen traveling, or planning travel in Palestine, it’s important to keep note of regular weekly business hours, and their interruption by national holidays. On Fridays, the predominantly Muslim areas, which is to say, the vast majority of the West Bank, close all day. Expect heavy traffic and crowds in market places on Thursday evenings in these areas, as everyone prepares for Friday celebrations. Businesses  normally open at around 8 am to 9 pm. Governmental institutions open at 8 am to 3 pm. 

Christians only make up about 2.5% of the West Bank population, so Sunday closing of Christian owned businesses, which are concentrated in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem’s Old City, shouldn’t have too much affect.

On Saturday, all Israeli shops, offices and places of entertainment are closed for the Shabbat. Public transport is restricted on Friday evening as well as Saturday daytime, though buses and other means of transport become available again after about six in the evening on Saturday. market-in-shabat

In addition to negotiating these interruptions to plans, it’s a good idea to take note of annual events and holidays.

In the winter period, expect Christian businesses to be closed for Christmas, and another, less widely celebrated public holiday for the Islamic New Year on November twenty sixth. Businesses also mostly close for Independence Day, which falls on fifteenth November, usually accompanied by the occasional demonstration, and much public speech making at local schools and universities. christmas-bethlehem

Ramadan takes place in early Summer time, on the ninth month of the Muslim Calendar. Muslim owned cafes and restaurants are likely to be closed during this time, or have very limited opening times. Markets will be open in the evenings, and supermarkets are likely to close early. In the more conservative Muslim areas, such as Hebron, it’s advisable to avoid eating or drinking in public in the daytime during this period. ramadan-palestine