Please Review Palestine Itinerary

Jun 24th, 2019, 06:41 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 310
Please Review Palestine Itinerary

We are taking a 18 day tour in Israel next February. and plan to add our own private pre-trip to the Palestine. We have been conversing with Murad Tours and they have provided the following itinerary. I think it looks good, but would appreciate any input you may have. Thank you.

4-DAY PALESTINE TOUR
2 people

Saturday 22nd February -- BETHLEHEM TOUR
Pick up from Tel Aviv
Visit Mar Saba - for a view of the Monastery & Judean Desert
Visit Dheishah Refugee Camp Centre - meet with locals
Have an up-close look at the Separation Wall / Graffiti
A Brief visit to the Walled Off Hotel Museum & Gallery
Nativity Church / Manger Square
Walk through the Old City & Market

Overnight in Bethlehem
- Dar Sitta Aziza B&B or
- Family Homestay

Sunday 23rd February -- NABLUS TOUR
Pick up from Bethlehem
Jacobs Well
Balata Refugee Camp - see the crowded conditions and hear some stories about life there- and visit a local Women's Centre
Walk through the Old City, see the Olive Oil Soap Factory and Spice Shop
Samaritan Village on Mount Gerizim
Return to Bethlehem for overnight

Monday 24th February - HEBRON & BATTIR VILLAGE TOUR

Pick up from Bethlehem
Tour Hebron - visit Abraham's Tomb and the Old City where Israeli settlers live in close proximity to the local Palestinians.
You'll visit a local family and a glass blowing workshop that recycles glass from the city, crafting beautiful objects.
Tour Battir: Land of Olives and Vines
Visit The ancient West Bank village of Battir a World Heritage Site.
This charming and fertile village is not only one of the most beautiful places in the West Bank, it is also one of the most spirited
Return to Bethlehem for overnight

Tuesday 25th February - RAMALLAH, JERICHO & BEDOUIN TOUR

Pick up from Bethlehem
Drive the Alternative route of the Palestinians via Wadi Nar to Ramallah
- Stop at a Bedouin Camp to meet with locals and see the life under threat
Tour Ramallah - a brief visit to Arafat's Tomb & Museum
Walk through the City Centre and visit the Palestinian Heritage Centre
Travel to Jericho with view of one of the Largest Settlements in the West Bank
- View of Mt. of Temptation
- Tel Es Sultan (Ancient Jericho)
Return to Bethlehem for overnight


Wednesday 26th February -- EIN KAREM / DEPARTURE
Pick up from Bethlehem (with luggage)
You have the option of a half day tour of Jerusalem (incl. Ein Karem) or
Our driver (English speaking) will take you to visit Ein Karem before transfer to Haifa

Drop off in Haifa (which is where our Israel tour starts)
megdean is offline  
Jun 27th, 2019, 10:14 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,706
Having researched this company they obviously have an agenda. Some of their descriptions as you present them are obvious as to their bent, such as "see the crowded conditions" . (I could write the same if I were your your guide in NYC!) And I could show you poverty almost anywhere. I could also show you wealthy individuals.in the Palestinian Territories. But only if I wanted you to see that side. I've read reviews that say it's very political and you won't get much religious view other than theirs. So hopefully you're not going for Christian sites and their religious history. (I'm not a Christian so I have no dog in this race.)
But that's your choice.
I would suggest that if you want expert input on the itinerary given that you go to the Israel Forum on Trip Advisor and ask the same questions as you have here. People writing on Fodors who know or have traveled in this area seem to be strangely rare.
Good luck!!!
Dianedancer is offline  
Jun 28th, 2019, 07:19 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 88
Originally Posted by Dianedancer View Post
Having researched this company they obviously have an agenda. Some of their descriptions as you present them are obvious as to their bent, such as "see the crowded conditions" . (I could write the same if I were your your guide in NYC!) And I could show you poverty almost anywhere. I could also show you wealthy individuals.in the Palestinian Territories. But only if I wanted you to see that side. I've read reviews that say it's very political and you won't get much religious view other than theirs. So hopefully you're not going for Christian sites and their religious history. (I'm not a Christian so I have no dog in this race.)
But that's your choice.
I would suggest that if you want expert input on the itinerary given that you go to the Israel Forum on Trip Advisor and ask the same questions as you have here. People writing on Fodors who know or have traveled in this area seem to be strangely rare.
Good luck!!!
This is exactly right.

I've been around the West Bank quite a bit on my own, including to all the major places in the OP's itinerary. It's very easy to tell from the itinerary that the tour company has an political agenda.

I went to all these places myself and made conversations with regular Palestinians at the souqs (markets), mosques, on the shared taxi rides, etc. The problem with these political tours is that the people they take you to meet are the exact opposite of regular people. It's an entirely staged experience; the "people" you meet are essentially actors they've hand-picked and screened to give you a particular perspective.

If OP wants to get a real perspective on what life is like in the West Bank and see the conflict from the perspective of the Arabs, I would strongly urge OP to eschew any sort of tours, especially politically driven ones.

OP, if you are a "tour" person, which it sounds like you are if you're taking an Israel tour as well, perhaps you should consider other tour companies that are less politically driven. I don't have any recommendations, but TripAdvisor's Israel forum is much more active than this one.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Jun 28th, 2019, 08:03 AM
  #4  
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Posts: 310
I had not thought of this tour in the manner that Dianedancer and LAX Esq stated and find your comments very interesting. We do like to take tours in certain locations (certainly not Europe, etc) - our goal is to meet a wide variety of people and try to gain an understanding of their lives and cultures. We thought of this trip as a balance to what we will hear in the Israel portion. The reviews on Tripadvisor for Murad Tours were very good, which is why we initiated conversation with them.

I will take your advice and post this same question on the Tripadvisor page.

Thank you.
megdean is offline  
Jun 29th, 2019, 04:10 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 27
Palestine is in my "wish list" too. Does anyone know is it safe over there? I am looking for advices and recommendations too
angie7911922 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2019, 05:49 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,706
Also as part of the itinerary description "See Bedouins and their life under threat". A red flag to me. There are many Bedouins living in Israel proper and they're lives are not under threat.

The West Bank (so named by Jordan but was previous to that known as Samaria and Judea) is divided I to three parts, Area A. Totally under Arab control, Arab B under Arab and Israel control and Area C, under Israel control. Area A has all the important cities such as Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron, Jerico.

If you take a taxi into the Palestinian Territories, the driver must be an Arab. I just met with a Trip Advisor group for a get together in Jerusalem 2 weeks ago. One of our group was a Muslim woman from England. She told a story of how she took a driver into some West Bank town and when she got out of the taxi people their looked at her and started to talk in Arabic, which she doesn't understand. However, she said she recognized the word they used "Yehuden" (Jew) and saw they had rocks in their hands. She was scared to death. Her Arab driver who knew she was Muslim, didn't come to her defense. She was pissed.

There must be tours that are more neutral in their bent. Remember, the area was Jewish way before it was Muslim. I think Abraham Tours does a dual perspective tour from Jerusem.
Dianedancer is offline  
Jun 29th, 2019, 11:53 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Dianedancer View Post
Also as part of the itinerary description "See Bedouins and their life under threat". A red flag to me. There are many Bedouins living in Israel proper and they're lives are not under threat.
Correct, but here's the biggest red flag of all: "where Israeli settlers live in close proximity to the local Palestinians."

There must be tours that are more neutral in their bent. Remember, the area was Jewish way before it was Muslim. I think Abraham Tours does a dual perspective tour from Jerusem.
I'm thinking that the best thing for OP might be to find a private guide who can act as an interpreter to help meet real people one-on-one. Any tour that sends you a pre-fabbed itinerary with that much detail is going to have fake, pre-arranged encounters where you don't actually meet real people.

I've read about the Abraham Tours "dual narrative" tour, and while the company seems to have a great general reputation, I think the "dual narrative" concept is a bad one They're not doing their customers any service by perpetuating the misleadingly oversimplified and childish notion that there are "two narratives" (i.e., "here's what all the Jews believe, and now here's what all the Arabs believe").
LAX_Esq is offline  
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