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 younger sibling 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There was some trouble because my mom’s then outdated Palestinian passport was not updated to record my parent’s marriage, so this caused a lot of complications for us.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.