Bethlehem is of course well-known as birthplace of Jesus and thus draws a large number of pilgrims. The town is situated in the West Bank, a few kilometres from Jerusalem on the other side of the barrier. The barrier passes immediately along the town border of Bethlehem, is eight metres high and reminds of the former border of East Germany.
In regular distance there are watch towers, quite a few of which show traces of violent clashes. Parts of the wall feature graffitis left by locals, tourists and well-known artists such as Banksy. Some residential houses in Bethlehem are surrounded on three sides by this barrier. Hard to imagine that someone still chooses to live there. The bustling town centre and market was much to my liking – offering a colorfoul mixture of live animals, meat or household goods.
Ramallah on the other hand, appears like a modern, open Arab city: large, lively, and with some locals dressing in quite a Western manner. Ramallah is home to some of the offices of the Palestinian government and administration, and place of rest of Yasser Arafat.