Country Risk Code: Extreme
Whether you love going to religious sites or seeking adventure, Palestine would meet your expectations. With the green rolling hills, ancient cities, Mediterranean culture, first-class souks, and the Arab's hospitality to foreigners, it's no surprise that Palestine is one of the most exciting places to visit. However, the country has its risks. Therefore, if you’re planning to visit Gaza and the West Bank, it is important that you have the right travel insurance coverage.
Palestine - Political Landscape
Palestine, an ancient country, has numerous exciting places such as Sebastia, a historical ruin in the northern West Bank, and many significant Christian pilgrimage regions like the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Palestine is generally divided into two regions - the West Bank and the Gaza strip, which Israel separates.
Located between Israel and Jordan, the Palestinian West bank comprises a diverse landscape, historical landmarks, and deep ancient culture. Regardless there are cases of political violence and clashes due to the complicated history of refugee resettlement, immigration, and war. Territories remain affected as Palestinian and Israeli governments battle to settle their conflicts. Ongoing violence and political instability have made Gaza an off-limits zone to tourists.
What’s more, Gaza is completely isolated and inaccessible except for journalists or NGO workers, while the West Bank remains the only accessible destination. The West Bank remains peaceful, although local clashes and protests can occur occasionally. West Bank is relatively welcoming to visitors as both Israel, and the Palestinian government has built tourism facilities that support visitors who want to visit for other purposes apart from Pilgrim.
Although the West Bank is generally safe, it still suffers political stress. You should be wary of political protests and demonstrations. You can avoid areas with conflict and clashes as conflicts are usually predictable. Arrange transport services through your hotel as travel arrangements can be delayed or canceled due to hostility levels with Israel. Protests and demonstrations can escalate into violent attacks. There is the risk of robbery, travel disruptions, and border disputes which could cause injury to you.
There is the risk of developing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) in Palestine. Medical resources are scarce, which makes the facilities expensive. Healthcare is costly as well.
Transport in West Bank
You may encounter regular checkpoints within the West Bank. Most Palestinians are prohibited from driving in Israel. The West Bank has good road conditions with an efficient transport system. Public transport can access both small towns and major cities in the West Banks. It's prohibited for Palestinians to drive on Israeli roads vice versa, so It isn't very easy to drive by yourself. Israeli securities will not allow you to enter Jerusalem if your car has Palestinian plates. If your vehicle has Israeli plates, Palestine will assume you are a settler and throw stones at you.
You should dress conservatively, especially in rural areas and religious places of worship. A general guide is to wear loose-fitted clothes. Avoid shorts and T-shirts as well; cover your knees and shoulders while going out. Women should cover their heads with a headscarf before entering a mosque.
Palestine has no international airport, so you can only enter the West Bank through Israel by land. The Israeli authorities control the Palestinian border. Also, you don't need to enter Palestine or Israel with a special visa. However, if you are coming from an Islamic country, it can be quite deterring to cross into Israel and then into the West Bank as Israel securities can be very cautious.
Choosing the Right Insurance for Your Trip To West Bank
Although it's not a legal requirement to get travel medical insurance before embarking on a trip to the West Bank, it remains vital. Medical facilities are expensive in Palestine. You will need to get travel medical insurance to secure you financially during your stay. Also, check that your medical insurance provides coverage for emergencies, evacuations, and repatriations if the need arises. Cancellation and delaying of trips are likely to occur. You can also get trip cancellation insurance to cover you when the need arises.
If there is instability in the area, some insurers may exclude cover, so it is important to check that your insurance is valid at the time of your trip.