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I'm interested in taking a recreational trip to the West Bank with my mother and sibling to visit family in the next few months. My situation is a little particular, so please inform me of any nuances to keep in mind as I am planning. I am interested in the following:

  • Which airport to travel to (Tel Aviv vs Amman), and if I'm even allowed through Tel Aviv (see details below)
  • Logistics of border crossings, and whether or not any part of the process can be expedited (again, see below)
  • Any pre-arrival work that can be done (visa request, document verification) to smooth things out
  • How to deal with carrying technology (will be carrying work computers).
  • Coronavirus restrictions

Me, my father, and siblings are all American born citizens. My mother is a Palestinian which moved to the US and got her American citizenship. We have made a trip in the past, but the journey through the Jordanian border crossing proved quite difficult and came with many unexpected fees. Due to rules on VIP buses and other grey area, having our US-born father accompany us was suspicious and we were told to get on another bus. This was eventually solved with unwritten 'fees'.

Additionally, our entry on the Israeli side of the crossing was only allowed for 'humanitarian reasons' and we could have very well have our entry rejected, for the following reason.

There was some trouble because my mom's then outdated Palestinian passport was not updated to record my parent's marriage, so this caused a lot of complications for us. We tried getting it updated, but strenuous requirements on marriage certificates prevented us from getting it updated completely, because we didn't have the necessary materials on hand.

Naturally, there are some things that are legal on a technicality, but prove difficult in practice (e.g., if traveling through Tel Aviv is allowed, the scenario of traveling through Israeli land and checkpoints as Palestinian-Americans proves inconsistent and can have unexpected outcomes). I suppose a call to the embassies would give the best answers to these questions, but I'm hoping seasoned travelers in this area could provide some concrete input as to the current political situation and what is not only possible as a technicality, but feasible in practice.

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  • What parts of the west bank do you wish to travel to? Specifically, are they C territory (Israeli administrative control) or B and A territories (PA administrative control)? Does it include east Jerusalem? – SIMEL Jun 6 at 19:47
  • @SIMEL Area A and B are of utmost priority, for family, but it would be a nice added touch to visit East Jerusalem/permit for Israel travel. Thank you for your reply. – broccolicheddarness Jun 6 at 19:58
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The best answer would be to check in advance and make all possible arrangements to make sure that you will be able to enter. You should check both with the Israeli embassy in the US and the US embassy in Israel to get the best answer and cover all your bases as much as possible. And you should check where you should enter, Ben Gurion airport or the Allenby bridge.

Palestinian-born Americans (or other nationalities) like your mother might have a hard time getting into Israel and sometimes are denied entry. The same goes for their children, even if they were not born in Palestine.

You can see in my answer here for examples of this or this article that describes similar events*.

I don't think that a computer or any other consumer electronics would pose any special problem. Don't bring a drone, those are problematic for everyone in many countries.

That regards entering to visit PA territories. If you want to visit East Jerusalem (including the old city) and/or places that are located in C territory, that would be the same as visiting Tel Aviv and other places in Israel. Usually, for non-palestinian Americans, there are no special problems with this, including Americans born in other hostile countries such as Lebanon or Iran, but Palestinians are a special case and all inquiries should probably be done in advance.

Regarding the COVID situation, it's hard to say, and it's an ongoing situation that changes, you can look at the US embassy guidelines regarding the COVID status in the PA and Israel (which are different).


* - Many of the sources that tell pf the stories about people being denied entry are less than supportive of Israel. Specifically in the source I add in this answer, I wouldn't trust Gideon Levi to tell me the time for sure I wouldn't completely trust his telling of an interaction between someone and any representative of Israel. But, there are enough stories circulating, to believe that some people, under some circumstances, are denied entry. Also remember that shouting at a border control officer "You wish you had the same roots as I do. You should be the one to leave, not me! I’m a daughter of this land" wouldn't help your case.

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  • Thank you for the reply and your disclaimer. I'll reach out to the embassies. Another major concern of mine (that I hope someone else reading this could address) is the border crossing from Jordan to Palestine, which has its own slew of inconsistencies and grey area. – broccolicheddarness Jun 6 at 22:00
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    You'll need to enter Israel, whether via TLV airport or by land from Jordan (doesn't matter if the destination is Palestinian territories - you must pass an Israeli checkpoint). So contacting the embassy is important either way. – ugoren Jun 16 at 22:07

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