"Bethlehem 2005" Bethlehem by jacobzoethout
Bethlehem Travel Guide: 80 reviews and 295 photos
I wanted to visit a Palestinian town during my stay in Israel in 2005. Bethlehem seemed the most logical choice; it is easy to reach from Jerusalem and the situation in Bethlehem is relatively calm and it is a well known tourist town being the city of birth of Jesus.
In the morning, I took a minibus from the Arab bus station on Suleyman street, eastern Jerusalem. However, when I was inside the minibus, I found out that the main border crossing between Jerusalem and the Bethlehem Palestinian territory was closed due to an attack a few days before. The bus passed a checkpoint, west of Bethlehem; at the checkpoint a Druze military entered the minibus and asked for the identity cards of my fellow Palestinian passengers. I showed him my Dutch passport. After half an hour we continued.
I had to leave the minibus at the western outskirts of Bethlehem, close to Beit Jalla from where I took a taxi to the centre.
In Bethlehem, I visited the Church of the Nativity, which is being visited by many religious tourist groups again, drank a coffee on Manger Square, and walked around in this famous town. Bethlehem seemed a friendly little town; the centre was attractively renovated a few years ago. It is really sad this city has been suffering so much during the last years.
I spoke with a policeman who told me that the border was closed, but not for non-Arabs like me. He arranged a taxi for me to the main border, an open gate in the infamous Wall. I took some pictures there, walked a few hundred metres to the Israeli checkpoint (a very weird walk; I was the only one at that time between the Wall and the checkpoint). After the checkpoint, I had to walk for another few hundred meters where a minibus to Jerusalem was waiting.
There is a tourist information office in the Bethlehem Peace Centre on Manger Square. A Swedish and Palestinian flag is... more travel advice
It is nice to walk around in Bethlehem town centre, into the soukh area. From Manger square, I walked upwards Paul VI... more travel advice
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