Ramallah, West Bank

I came there not to participate in any sort of demonstrations, but just to observe. I spent roughly four weeks in the West Bank and four weeks in Israel. I spent much of my time in the West Bank in Ramallah, the administrative capitol of Palestine. Ramallah is a short distance away from Jerusalem and I actually made not one but several trips back and forth between the two cities.

Note: All photos were personally taken by the author.

Entering the West Bank. Despite the warning from the sign below the West Bank is actually fairly safe, aside from the occasional skirmishes with Israeli forces. I actually felt safer walking at night in Ramallah than in many cities in the US. This warning was put in place to discourage Israeli-Jews from visiting the territory and finding out the reality themselves. There are some Jews from Tel-Aviv who do make the trip to the West Bank and participate in the demonstrations against the construction of Israeli settlements.

The wall on the Palestinian side.

The Hostel in Ramallah

I don’t remember the exact name of the hostel but it was the main hostel in Ramallah. It was an activist hostel and they arranged to drop guests off for morning demonstrations. Most of the guests were young and mainly came from Germany, France, and Holland. There was one other American there, a young man with libertarian leanings from Chicago.

The dorm beds. When these fill up, they don’t turn guests away. . .

they arrange quarters like these.

A photojournalist on the right.


Home cooked meals. A young French lady on the left and two Germans on the right. The German man in the middle seemed pretty friendly until I showed him a few minutes of a David Irving video. Then he got upset at me. I kept forgetting that Germans have been made the scapegoat for the entire debacle against the Jews during WWII and that questioning the Holocaust is illegal there. Germans have real guilt. The young man in the middle told me he saw the gas chambers in person and that no one could make that stuff up. He also told me that the Jews who were behind the atrocities against the Palestinians had nothing to do with most Jews and that most of the them are good innocent people. Most visitors who come to the West Bank are left-wing ideologically. Some are libertarians, which in some ways is a more radical form of liberalism.

View of Ramallah during sunset from the balcony.

The Demonstrations

The demonstrations were about 20 km away from Ramallah. The hostel host arrange for transportation, which normally are taxis that fit up to five each. They are non-violent protests against the construction of Israeli settler villages in the West Bank. The demonstrators come from everywhere, but primarily come from Western Europe. They typically number around a hundred.

Demonstrators in the background while the IDF charges on. They fire tear gas on them. If you inhale too much, it will knock you out.

Ultra-orthodox Jews on the settlements watching the events.

Man was wounded by the IDF years prior.

Boy playing with tear gas canisters.

Palestinians look on.

Scenes of Ramallah

Lunch at one of the restaurants. Hostel host is on the left and the other two are hostel guests.

Yasser Arafat’s tomb.