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Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Shanghai, China
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Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Hello. My family and I are traveling to meet friends who will be in Ramallah. How is travel between the two cities? Should they stay with us in Jerusalem for the week we will be together or is it easy to travel back and forth? Also if we want to visit Ramallah how best to go? We have an 8 month old.

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Jerusalem, Israel
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1. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

I would suggest that you would both stay in Jerusalem. Travel from Ramallah to Jerusalem is subjected to heavy security checks and there are often long queue ("Kalandiya crossing"). Therefore, assuming your friends are tourists too, I would suggest staying in Jerusalem.

You can travel from Jerusalem to Ramallah with a bus - bus #18 from the bus terminal near Damascus gate of the old city. You can also catch a taxi - just make sure the taxi driver is Arab and is willing to enter Ramallah. Such taxis can be found near the Damascus gate also. Make sure you take all documentation - passports etc.

Last note - if you carry Chinese passports, don't forget that you need to pre-arrange a visa to Israel at the Israeli embassy.

Berlin, Germany
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2. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Just adding that you can evade the heavy security checks (I definitely would if I would travel with an 8-month baby) by taking taxi from Ramallah with an Israeli Arab. They drive via Hizma to Jerusalem and there's a good chance there won't be any checks at all. Of course a lot more expensive than standing in the queues at Qalandia (like 70 NIS instead of 7 NIS with the bus) but also much more pleasant with a baby.

With that being said, my memory of the IDF personel at Qalandia was that they actually were friendly, and I wouldn't rule out the possibility that you can actually roll through smoothly at Qalandia if you have a baby with you, especially if it's clear you are tourists from China.

Jerusalem, Israel
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3. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Just to comlete Anders B post -

* the only way to get from Ramallah to Jerusalem by taxi, is with an Israeli taxi - that would be Israeli Arab driver. Palestinian taxis will not be able to take you to your address in Jerusalem, and will drop you at the crossing. Israeli taxis are easily spotted because they have yellow license plates with the Israeli flag on it.

* As for Qalandiya crossing - it's the Israeli police (not IDF) that runs the the crossing - Border police actually, but having green uniforms (in comparison to olive uniform of the IDF), it's understandable that it can be easily confused.

Berlin, Germany
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4. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Ah yes thanks Amos R - true, it's much easier and better to look for a taxi with yellow plates in Ramallah than ask for an Israeli Arab ;-)

Very interesting about the uniforms, then we actually never saw any IDF staff during our whole trip!

You never stop learning new things :)

Berlin, Germany
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5. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

ok just saw olive is almost green. Me and colours...

Anyway LilSmurf, if you would like to stay in Ramallah I can recommend this very friendly and serviceminded place:

http://www.rcshotel.com/suites.aspx

They have a lovely garden restaurant/bar called Sangria in their backyard.

Shanghai, China
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6. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Thanks all. We are actually all American citizens! We will look for the Israeli taxis. Can they be found on both sides of the crossing? Is qalandia the only way in/out?

Jerusalem, Israel
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7. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

You can find Israeli taxis in Ramallah, and of course in Jerusalem. However, from Jerusalem you need a taxi with an Arab driver (to get to Ramallah) - those can be found near the Damascus gate of the Old City.

Qalandia crossing is a 2-way crossing. It is very crowded at mornings and afternoons when Palestinian workers go to work in Israel and get back home, so try to evade those times.

Berlin, Germany
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8. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

They can at least be easily found on the PA side of the Qalandia crossing.

No, there are other crossings, these taxis use Himza further east from Qalandia. Meaning they go zone A->B->C without being stopped (at least they told us so and when we went they were right).

Shanghai, China
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9. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Hi everyone! Sorry to come back with another question. Is it possible to go between Ramallah/Jerusalem every day at all hours or are the checkpoints closed/access closed during times like Friday evening, Saturday morning, etc? Thanks.

Jerusalem, Israel
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10. Re: Travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah is open 24/7, except for Yom Kippur (one day on September/October, on 2013 it's on September).

Feel free to ask as many questions as you wish, we are happy to supply the information.

Edited: 12:35 pm, May 09, 2013
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