Work and Travel in Palestine
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN PALESTINE FOR TRAVELLERS
Palestine is becoming an increasingly popular place to volunteer in. But there are things you have to understand before you work and travel in Palestine.
First of all, volunteering in the West Bank, with its capital based at Ramallah, just outside Jerusalem, is perfectly safe.
The Gaza Strip, on the other hand, is under Israeli blockade and violence flares regularly. Unless you have specialist skills, no organisation will allow you to volunteer in the Gaza Strip. So it's best avoided as there is a risk to life.
Our travel guide to Palestine is going to introduce you to the sort of work that's available here.
1. Help the Poor in Palestine
Poverty is rife in every area of Palestine. The conflict with Israel is the main reason for this.
That's why there's so many options for this sort of work in Palestine.
You can work with the displaced peoples of the country, young people, and women.
Some of these volunteering positions involve helping Palestinians learn vital skills that can help them to secure work. Or they could revolve around helping to empower women.
You don't necessarily need to have prior qualifications, but it helps.
2. Educate Young People in Palestine
The Palestinian government has few resources to work with, and providing basic services is often a challenge. This is especially true in the area of education.
Palestinians struggle to get the education they need to create bright futures for themselves.
That's why volunteer teachers are in high demand. You can work in Palestine teaching English or working in schools.
The easiest option is to teach English because most native speakers don't require qualifications for these volunteering opportunities in Palestine.
3. Work with Refugees in Palestine
There's a whole industry dedicated to supporting refugees in Palestine. They come from a range of different backgrounds. Some refugees were removed from Israel, especially from Jerusalem. Others lost everything due to military action taken in the Palestinian territories.
There are so many different jobs available for people who want to work and travel in Palestine in this area.
You could be handing out supplies, keeping children company, and providing basic education services in temporary camps.
It's an excellent way to make a difference during your trip here.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR PALESTINE
For this section, we will only be discussing the West Bank. Understand that you have two options to enter Palestine. You can go via Ben Gurion Airport in Israel or through the King Allenby border crossing from Jordan. For more info click here.
Either way, you will always have to cross the Israeli border and submit to Israeli authorities.
Palestine itself has no visa restrictions on foreigners of any nationality. You must comply with Israeli visa policy, however. For more info click here.
Citizens of the UK, the European Union (EU), Russia, North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea can enter Israel without a visa for 90 days.
We recommend you don't disclose your plans to Israeli authorities if you want to avoid interrogation. Make sure you clean your devices as whilst there's nothing illegal in going to Palestine, Israeli authorities have refused entry to volunteers in the past.
You should also take care to avoid taking out any material that glorifies Palestine or indicates that you have spent a lot of time in the West Bank,
Israeli security tends to be at its most severe on your way out, rather than on the way in.
But don't let this put you off. As long as you take sensible precautions you shouldn't suffer when confronted by Israeli immigration.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN PALESTINE
Spring is one of the best times to travel in Palestine because it's not too hot or too cold.
This is why reconstruction projects are always popular in spring. Homes that were destroyed in previous military actions need rebuilding and charities are there to help stricken Palestinians get back on their feet.
You don't need to be qualified. You just have to be willing to partake in manual labour.
Another good choice is to stay on a farm as part of a homestay. Not only will you be helping farmers with their crops and animals, but you'll be also teaching them English and enjoying a cultural exchange.
The summer in Palestine is blisteringly hot. It can be difficult for people who aren't used to it to adapt.
This is why educational programmes might be the best summer volunteering opportunity in Palestine for you.
There's lots of this type of work in the cities of Jericho, Ramallah, and the divided city of Hebron.
The autumn is much like the spring. We recommend referring back to the 'Spring' section for information on the best options for autumn.
The winter is difficult in Palestine. Despite being in a hot part of the world, temperatures can drop below freezing at night. This makes it exceedingly difficult for refugees.
Volunteers are in especially high demand in the winter to cope with the influx of refugees.
The temporary camps throughout the West Bank require more resources and more volunteers to manage the complex needs of these displaced peoples.
The key to securing these jobs as you travel in Palestine is to apply well in advance. These are professional organisations and potential volunteers are scrutinised to ensure that they qualify.
We also recommend that you only apply if you have specialist skills. You can find work if you're unqualified, but it's much more difficult.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN PALESTINE
Palestine is a highly complex nation when it comes to attitudes towards foreigners. Generally, they're friendly and welcoming.
However, there can be mistrust, and even anger, towards some nationalities in the beginning. This is especially the case with US travellers. The same goes to a lesser extent with UK travellers, since these are the biggest supporters of Israel.
So you need to be prepared to deal with this before you can get to know the local people.
If you're capable of doing this then you're the perfect candidate for work and travel in Palestine.
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