August 2008

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Israel's 'Two Roads' Solution

Fred Schlomka

Through traveling the roads of the West Bank almost daily, Fred Schlomka documents the approaching transportation crisis in the Greater Jerusalem area.

Yidiot Article
As the eyes of the world were on the Liberty Ships approaching Gaza, a massive segregated road project in the Greater Jerusalem area has been quietly approaching completion. Israel is about to unveil the realization of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's dream of Palestinian 'transportational contiguity', in lieu of contiguous territory. Route 1, currently shared with Palestinians, connects Jerusalem to the eastern settlement of Ma'ale Adumim (pop. 35,000). This four-lane highway leads to the Dead Sea and also whisks settlers to Jerusalem in twenty minutes through the 'E1' development area.
Since Sharon's ultimate goal was to remove Palestinian traffic from settler roads, he came up with the ingenious plan to build a separate road network for exclusive Palestinian use, with no connection to the settler roads, only bridges and underpasses. . . . . . more

Tourism Booming in Israel,

but what about Palestine?

According to the Israeli Tourism Ministry, from Jan-July 2008 visitors to Israel have increased by 40% over last year, with over 1.7 visitors. The central Bureau of Statistics reports that 260,000 people visited Israel in July alone. The Tourism Ministry's forecast for this year is 2.8 million visitors.

Unfortunately there is no readily available hard data regarding the number of tourists visiting the Palestinian Authority's areas (Area 'A' & 'B') of the West Bank. Israel does not keep such statistics and there is no data in English available on the web site of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics or Tourism Ministry. The latest report in Arabic is for 2005. Such data is hard to compile . . . . . more

Tour Guide Profile

. . . . . Eldad Brin

TamerEldad has an M.A. in geography and urban and regional studies from Hebrew University and is a licensed tour guide. He was born and raised in Jerusalem and specializes in guiding the Greater Jerusalem Tour and walking tours of the Old City. His passion is the post-1967 'geopolitics' of the area and has written extensively on the subject. Most notably his 2006 paper, 'Politically Oriented Tourism in Jerusalem' published by Sage in the academic journal, Tourist Studies. Eldad's tours of Jerusalem provide a comprehensive overview of the contradictions inherent between the slogan, 'an Undivided Jerusalem', and the 8-meter high wall that slices through Palestinian neighborhoods and the segregated roads around the perimeter of the city. Eldad has also given presentations on the situation is Jerusalem. . . . . More Guides profiles

New Tour Developments

Due to many requests, the town of Kalkilia (Qalqiliya) is soon to be offered as a weekly day-tour. Kalkiliya is the closest part of the West Bank to the Mediterranean, and completely surrounded by the Separation Barrier, with only one road open to the east, blocked by an Israeli military checkpoint.
The Jenin Tour is still only available as a private tour while the logistics are being worked out.
Private tours for any of the published itineraries, or a custom tour, can be scheduled at any time with airport pick-up, flexible itineraries, hotel bookings, and personal service. Custom itineraries can include visits with Palestinian NGOs, villagers, settlers, and activists. Private tour inquiries

Scheduled Tours

Tour Name

Departing from


Greater Jerusalem Jerusalem Every Monday Itinerary & Reservations
Taybeh Brewery Jerusalem Every Tuesday Itinerary & Reservations
Bethlehem Jerusalem Every Tuesday Itinerary & Reservations
Nablus Jerusalem Every Wednesday Itinerary & Reservations
Back Roads to Ramallah Jerusalem Every Saturday Itinerary & Reservations
Hebron & Bethlehem Jerusalem Every Thursday Itinerary & Reservations
Central West Bank Tel Aviv, Hertzliya & Ra'anana Every Friday Itinerary & Reservations
Israel Black Panthers Jerusalem Last Friday of the month Itinerary & reservations
Tours conducted by independent tour guides and in cooperation with, Daila,

the Alternative Tourism Group, Siraj Center and the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality.

Palestinian, Bedouin, and israeli tour guides conduct the tours.

Message from the Director

Many people coming in to the Ben Gurion airport request to NOT have their passport stamped with an Israeli entry visa. Usually the visitor is traveling on to an Arab country where the law does not permit entry for people who have first been to Israel. So, on request, the Israeli authorities stamp a piece of paper which is kept inside the passport and removed on departure from the country, enabling the traveler to arrive in the Arab country without 'evidence' that they have been in Israel.
However recently many people have not been given the stamped paper at the airport or one of the land crossings to Israel which is causing problems at West Bank checkpoints and police inspections. One of our tour groups to Hebron was recently stopped by the police and everyone had to produce a passport. One of the participants had no stamp and was detained at the local police station for 45 minutes. It was all sorted out once the police contacted the Ministry of Interior and determined that the person was in the country legally. However the situation could have been avoided.
Please remember to ASK the immigration police to give you a stamped paper for your visa that you can keep in your passport. DO NOT give the paper away at the inspection point after the immigration station. Sometimes the inspectors who double check the passport keep the piece of paper. Don't let them and this avoid problems later.

All the best,

Fred Schlomka

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