West Bank

by Mario
Day 8
Let’s go back for a moment to 1995 to Taba. Then between Palestine and Israel was signed Oslo II Record, which inter alia divided the West Bank into three zones A, B, C. The first is controlled fully by Palestine (approximately 3% of the area), to this zone the Jews are not allow to enter. Zone B is governed by the Palestinians, under the control of Israel and Palestine, and zone C under the occupation of Israel. Today those zones are a flashpoint in relations between Israel and Palestine, especially the largest of them – C, to which access for the Palestinians is straitened. Sometimes they must wait in queues at checkpoints for several hours.
Tourists movement are easier. We had spent at checkpoints no more than 10 minutes. Our guide was a native Palestinian Tamer, who greeted us with the words: “You are the bloggers” :-). Our fame has spread even to Palestine :-P. Tamer during whole tour was as cool as a cucumber talking about a fairly complex relations between Israel and Palestine.
Ramallah, was the first visited city, the official capital of Palestine. During the Palestinian-Israeli clashes to all intents and purposes razed to the ground. This affected the tourist attractiveness of the place, or rather the lack of it. Tourists attention is drawn to the place of burial of Yasser Arafat. Once again we have seen that tourism in the world doesn’t know boundaries of kitsch – What value may have a picture at the grave of Palestinian leader?!
The next was Jericho considered as the oldest city on earth. Sightseeing recommended only for people with a big imagination :-). A few stones built up into smaller or larger piles. However, it’s worth to take a ride in cable car to the Mount of Temptation. Mania could not believe that we were going in red “box” so high. Of course, the greatest emotion was in front of us – next red cable car :-).
We have to admit that Bethlehem surprised us very positively. Another biblical place, but this time its mystique touch us, and at least half of our traveler’s group. In the Basilica of the Nativity Mania went to the birthplace of Jesus and put hand into the “star”. Strange feeling – Caroline in pregnant in such a place, Mania behaved in such a way. Tears appeared. The atmosphere did not last too long because quite small room inside the Basilica were invaded by Asians with their phones, tablets and cameras. Then we concluded that, entrance to such a places should be limited only to believers of a particular religion. At the one end of the room people pray, on the other one the crowd of gaping onlookers watching through a hole in the ground, pushing each other just to touch, see and go further.
Bethlehem, however is not only the Basilica. In Bethlehem created his works Banksy, the most famous (yet unknown), the creator of street art. It is worth to see and feel the atmosphere of the place and understand the message of his work is in this spot.
For dessert we had left dessert – the best Palestinian sweets.  Thanks Tamer! Thank you for the whole day in Palestine.

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