It sounds easy enough, but Google will probably put you wrong…
If you want to get from Israel into Palestine, but don’t fancy forking out for a taxi – getting a bus from Central Jerusalem to Bethlehem is about as easy (and cheap) as it gets.
You’ll need to get to the Damascus Gate bus station – head for the one DIRECTLY across the road from the gate, not the one down the side street. Ignore all the online forums that tell you about bus 216 etc. The bus ride, one-way, will cost you just less than 7 shekels. It should only take about half an hour to 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
You’ll be looking out for Bus 231, which should just about constantly be pulling in and out of the station. This bus will drop you about ten minute’s walk from the old town of Bethlehem, near Beit Jala. There are no border stops or passport checks on your way into Palestine. However, when you come back, you will be stopped by Israeli police.
The bus makes a few stops through Beit Jala, before its final stop in Bethlehem. Don’t worry if you’re nowhere near your hotel either, there will be plenty of taxis and taxi drivers waiting there to scoop you up and take you to where you’re staying for a much lower price than it would cost you in Israel.