Please Review Palestine Itinerary

Old Jun 24th, 2019, 06:41 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 310
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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  
Old Jun 27th, 2019, 10:14 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,751
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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  
Old Jun 28th, 2019, 07:19 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 202
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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  
Old Jun 28th, 2019, 08:03 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 310
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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  
Old Jun 29th, 2019, 04:10 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 27
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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  
Old Jun 29th, 2019, 05:49 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,751
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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  
Old Jun 29th, 2019, 11:53 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 202
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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  
Old Jul 18th, 2019, 05:49 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,751
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As to whether or not "Palestine", i.e., the Palestinian territories are safe. I believe so, just as long as you're not Israeli. You need to have an Arab taxi driver take you to Area A, which is where I'm guessing you'd want to go. Most tourists want to go to Bethlehem, Jericho (not close to one another), Hebron. These are in Area A. The major historical cities and Biblical ones are under the complete control of the PA authority. You can't take an Israeli rental car into this area. I believe there are buses from Jerusalem that go to Bethlehem. If you take a taxi, don't allow the taxi driver to take you to stores, where you will probably get ripped-off.

I advised the poster above to go to the Trip Advisor Israel talk forum. They are very knowledgeable. Much more than I am. I am advising you of the same.
Dianedancer is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2019, 05:04 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 16,406
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is an interesting thread and first I agree with DD and others that the tour mentioned has all the earmarks of a not so thinly veiled propaganda tour. I find this thread interesting because of my own experiences and perspective. My first visit to the area was shortly after the ‘73 war to work on an extended project. I have since been back to Israel several times as a tourist and to visit family, primarily DW’s.

During my my extended time there in the ‘70s I and others were able to travel freely through the West Bank (now often referred to as the West Ridge.) Living mostly in Jerusalem we would often shop in the Bethlehem market and also became friendly with several shopkeepers of the type selling souvenirs and such, they were a comparatively prosperous group. To a person they were apprehensive of the idea of Bethlehem being put under PA (or whatever they were called then - I forget) rule. We would also often go to Jericho because it was a nice place to visit and to partake of Sachleb, a delicious hot drink. Jericho had the best.

My project took me to refugee camps where the theme there was how much better things were under Israel than they were under Jorden, particularly in terms of health care, sanitation and services such as electricity. I doubt the tour would give you that point of view. I also had several opportunities to visit Bedouin encampments as part of an epidemiology study where I was always met with courtesy.

Although I was able to travel freely in Hebron, Ramallah and Gaza, I felt less comfortable there but never felt in danger. Hebron then and now could be a tricky place to travel because of its past and present history and dynamics between its Muslim and Jewish population and ongoing conflict over the Tomb of Abraham and Sarah. Gaza, although not on your tour is a no go.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Old Aug 12th, 2019, 04:30 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,751
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
basing - Thanks for sharing your story. It's very interesting.
Dianedancer is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jerirl
Africa & the Middle East
9
Apr 26th, 2014 07:37 PM
flagal2
Africa & the Middle East
10
Jun 17th, 2012 08:34 AM
erp
Africa & the Middle East
1
Apr 20th, 2012 08:32 AM
Spearfish
Africa & the Middle East
7
Dec 26th, 2010 05:35 AM
jaydh42
Africa & the Middle East
4
Mar 16th, 2008 08:35 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:30 AM.