Let us hook you up with information to blend in with the Palestinian community!
No matter where you are in Palestine, you will always encounter the famous Palestinian hospitality and warmth. Palestinians possess a unique culture and a distinctive diversity that can quickly captivate you once you attempt to explore it. The Palestinian people from all walks of life come together to offer you a memorable experience whether staying with a Palestinian or Bedouin family.
While it may not be realistic to try to master Arabic entirely before setting out on your journey, but we strongly advise investing the time necessary to learn at least a few words and phrases. Even if you struggle to remember these words or to pronounce them correctly, don’t be shy in using them! You will be amazed at the warm response you receive from native speakers – any attempt on your part to communicate in the local languages clearly demonstrates your respect for the local communities and interest in their lives and cultures.
Below are some sample words and phrases that may be worth learning. Also from this page you can download an Arabic language phrasebook that you can print and carry with you. This phrasebook is offers a more varied vocabulary.
Welcome – ahlan wa sahlan.
Hello – marḥaba.
Good morning – sabaḥ al kheir.
Goodbye – ma’ salameh.
How are you? – kif halak?
I’m fine – emniḥ.
Thank you – shukran.
You’re welcome – ‘afuan.
Everything is OK – kullo tamam.
ḥ – sharp h, gutturaly aspirated.
kh – h sound from the back of your throat.
‘ – a contraction in the back of your throat; if in doubt; say ‘ah.
October – March: Greenwich Mean Time plus 2 hours (GMT + 2).
April – September: Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours (GMT + 3).
Food & Water
You can drink tap water as well as mineral; both are available everywhere. It is important to make sure you drink lots of water, especially when you’re out walking and on hot days.
Palestinian cuisine is still about local produce, fresh herbs and the balance of ingredients in one single dish. It is also about a domestic sort of cooking marked by its reverence for tradition and ancestral practices. Lamb and rice are staple in dishes like Kidrah and Mansaf. These dishes are presented for special occasions and are differentiated by their preparation and spices.
Maza or mezzeh, as a prelude to any meal, is very much a Mediterranean practice. In Palestine, it consists of a variety of salads, both cooked an uncooked, and an assortment of pastry based finger food. A spread of Maza dishes can be substantial enough to be considered a full meal. Traditionally fruits are served to end the meal, such as: watermelons, melons, prunes, peaches in summer and oranges and all sorts of citrus fruits in winter.
Currencies used in Palestine include the Jordanian Dinar and the US Dollar, but the most popular is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). The shekel is divided into 100 Agorot. There are 200, 100, 50, and 20 NIS notes; 10, 5, 2 and 1 NIS coins; and 50 and 10 Agorot coins. Visitors are advised to take dollars and euros, but any other major European currency can also be freely changed at banks and money changers. Major credit cards, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American express are all accepted in banks, hotels and restaurants as well as with many ATMs.
Palestine is a modern, developed country with levels of health and hygiene equal to those of Western countries. Visitors are not required to undergo vaccinations prior to their arrival. Medical services in Palestine are very good, with many doctors trained abroad. Almost everyone in the health care field – from pharmacists to physicians to nurses – is fluent in English. It’s always recommended to have a travel insurance that covers you in case of illness or hospitalization.
Public card-operated phones can be found throughout most of the larger cities, towns and tourist destinations across Palestine and the calling cards themselves are easy to purchase locally in most supermarkets and convenience stores. Internet Services: Internet connectivity and internet cafes are found in all major Palestinian towns and cities. Some hotels also offer wireless fast speed internet connectivity for visitors.
Mobile Phone Services:
There are two world class mobile operators working in Palestine. Jawwal Mobile (www.jawwal.ps) with a prefix 059. The second mobile carrier is Wataniya Mobile (www.wataniya.ps) with a prefix 056.
Taxi & Public Transportation
An inexpensive alternative are Service Taxis. These are usually vans which operate on a fixed route for a fixed price just like a bus. If uncertain about the fare, just ask a fellow passenger. Regular rates are normally about 20% more than the bus. Most of them travel between towns and cities from recognized taxi ranks, departing when they are full.
This might involve waiting for six other passengers but the system is very popular and delays are very rare. Passengers can get out anywhere along the way, but you pay the same fair regardless. After dropping off a passenger, a replacement passenger is picked up when possible.
East Jerusalem and neighboring Ramallah, Bethlehem and other West bank towns are connected through a special public transportation network. The white & Green or white and blue minibuses operator fixed lines.
The schedule of these bus lines starts 0600 to 2200, their frequency varies between 5-15 minutes according to the time in the day. During the morning hours until 15:00 they run usually every 5 minutes. Tickets cost varies from regular to checkpoint only or beyond, to youth, or seniors, in addition to one-way and return.