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Driving in Israel and the West Bank

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Raleigh, North...
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Driving in Israel and the West Bank

I am a US citizen visiting and staying just outside of Jerusalem (position 31.829094,35.228391 on Google Maps). I would like to drive autonomously to places primarily in Israel and maybe a couple in the West Bank (Jericho, Bethlehem).

The information posted about this appears to be 2-5 years out of date. In the past it was mentioned that Avis was a good option for this. I am now told by Avis that I can not pass the green line. It was also mentioned that Greenpeace, Goodluck and Dallah are good rental companies in the West Bank but was not mentioned if these cars are able to drive between. I also saw mention of Area's A, B, and C and am not sure what effect these have on the question.

Is there a company or alternative to allow me to drive autonomously past the green line?

Thanks!

Israel
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1. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

The "green line" is not the point that is relevant in terms of knowing where you may or may not drive an Israeli rental car.

Briefly: Area A is those areas that are under complete control of the Palestinian Authority

Area C - completely under Israeli authority

Area B - joint

You can drive an Israeli rental anywhere EXCEPT area A - so not Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah, etc.

The restrictions have to do with insurance coverage. The other companies you noted have been mentioned here before and do have the necessary insurance for area A - however, even though you can drive with their cars all over Israel, they do not have offices spread around the country so that if you run into a problem you will be stuck and if you want to pick up or drop off your car farther afield you will also be out of luck. There was a report here a few months ago of a rather hefty surcharge for pick up or drop off at the airport for this very reason.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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2. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

The issue isn't driving past the Green Line -- the issue is driving an Israeli rental car into the Area A zones, those zones fully controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Practically speaking, this means the Palestinian cities -- Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Tul Karm, Bethlehem, Jericho, and the Palestinian-controlled portions of Hebron. In Areas B and C (the later of which are under full Israeli security and civil control), you can drive your rental car, even though those areas are across the Green Line and what people think of when they say "the West Bank."

You CANNOT drive an Israeli rental car into Area A. There are some companies in East Jerusalem I believe that do rent cars that can enter the Palestinian cities, but I don't have specifics on that.

Douglas Duckett

P.S. As often happens, Oreets and I simul-posted. She is a tour guide in Israel and will have the most up-to-date and specific information.

Edited: 20 May 2013, 16:10
Israel
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3. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

It will ne best if you rent a car in thr PA for travel in those areas and another inside of the rest of Israel. Alternatively you can hire a driver or take public transportation to those places mentioned above.

Note that you can drive any rented car along route 90 through the Jordan Valley which is under total Israeli control.

Chana

Israel

Gippsland, Australia
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4. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

We went into Palestinian area with a rental car last year and were recommended to use Middle East Car Rentals at 17 Nablus Rd. Jerusalem.

http://carrental.b144sites.co.il/

My husband and I weren't the ones who ended up actually picking up the rental car, but I'm pretty sure that the man who drove us did get it from that place and all went well. We only rented the car for the day we were in the PA.

Raleigh, North...
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5. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

Thanks for all of the answers! I think what I am going to do is separate any Area A parts of my trip out distinctly at the beginning, and at a certain point, switch over to a car rental in the PA.

Haifa, Israel
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6. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

Unless you're very confident about where you're going, for visiting Jericho, Bethlehem and other Palestinian towns in the West Bank, it may be much easier to use public transport (a combination of buses, which are very regular, and taxis). There are very regular and reliable buses from east Jerusalem to Bethlehem and Ramallah; there is also public transport to Jericho which is a little further away.

Strasbourg, France
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7. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

NEVER Dallah rent a car

Rental agency in Jerusalem to be absolutely avoided!

Thieves!

They counted us a day of rent in more because one saying they did not find the car, which had been left by our care in the date and at the planned hour!

Inadmissible!

They assured us that they would pay off us and for 2 months no news!

Never go to these thieves!

This "agency" should close for such a lack of professionalism and lack of respect of the customer!

Israel
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8. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

Benline, you have posted the same thing on four separate threads. This is not allowed on TripAdvisor. The one on this thread at least relates to the original question as the OP has asked about Dallah.

I am marking your other three posts for deletion as duplicates.

Raleigh, North...
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9. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

Thanks for all of the helpful answers. After going on the trip, I ultimately rented a car with Avis. As of last week, I was able to drive into all of the Area A places that I wanted. My car did not stand out, as many cars in Area A have yellow "IL" plates.

Though I was told that I could not drive this car into the West Bank repeatedly online, this was not the case. Avis did not give me any materials stating that I could not drive into Area A and did not give me any verbal warnings about this. When I went to Bethlehem I was weary and stopped before the checkpoint. One of the guards approached me due to my awkward behavior and I asked if I could drive my car into Area A. He replied with "Yes, of course." repeatedly. I kept saying, "But this is a rental car..." and he would brush me off as if I was talking nonsense and kept motioning for me to go through. I did not have any problems at all.

I later drove into Jericho. I just drove right in without any problem. Throughout the trip, none of the guards at any of the checkpoints cared at all about my car, they just cared about my passport. I don't think anyone even blinked at my car.

I drove into Ramallah, and there also was not a checkpoint and my car did not stand out at all.

I probably put myself in more danger stopping and getting out of my car at a couple of checkpoints due to the repeated online citations that I could not drive into Area A, then had I just driven through.

I would conclude to any traveler as of now that the "Area A" driving restriction rules cited in several places appears to be a myth, perhaps founded by rules from the past that have since changed.

Tel-Aviv
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10. Re: Driving in Israel and the West Bank

The soldiers at the checkpoints don't care about your car or anybody's car and their only instructions are to let anyone with a foreign passport go through. Did you ask Avis when you picked up the car or did you wait for them to tell you ? Did you read the fine print on the contract ?

I suggest that you read the "terms and conditions" on their web site: "entering the Palestinian Authority's territory is forbidden" !!

Avis should make this restriction very clear to every tourist that picks up a car and they were negligent in your case. However, you were warned on this site so the only conclusion is that you were lucky that the car did not break down or suffer serious damage while in Area A.

You definitely should not be advising others to do the same.