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“The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, US citizens need to be aware of the continuing risks of travel to areas described in this Travel Warning where there are heightened tensions and security risks,” says a special Travel Warning issued on Wednesday by the State Dept. It continues: “The security situation can change day-to-day, depending on the political situation, recent events, and geographic area. A rise in political tensions and violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank has resulted in injuries to and deaths of US citizens. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority both make considerable efforts to police major tourist attractions and ensure security in areas where foreigners frequently travel. Although these efforts to reduce the threat are not 100 percent effective, hundreds of thousands of US citizens safely visit Israel and the West Bank each year for study, tourism, and business. This replaces the Travel Warning issued February 18, 2015.”

The warning requires US government employees to obtain advance approval if they wish to travel “within 7 miles of the Gaza demarcation line; within 1.5 miles of the Lebanon border; north and east of the Sea of Galilee; on or east of Route 98 in the Golan; and south of Be’er Sheva.”


The warning also notes that “personal safety conditions in major metropolitan areas, including Tel Aviv and Haifa and surrounding regions, are comparable to other major global cities. Nonetheless, political and religious tension associated, in part, with access to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem has led to increased levels of violence, particularly in Jerusalem and the West Bank, not seen in those areas in a decade. Since October 2015, attacks on individuals and groups have occurred with increased frequency in East and West Jerusalem, Hebron, and Bethlehem, as well as various other places in the West Bank and Israel, including Tel Aviv. There is no indication that US citizens have been specifically targeted based on their nationality, although perceived religious affiliation may have been a factor in some violent attacks on US citizens. More than 12 US citizens have been among those killed and injured in multiple attacks in 2014 and 2015. US citizens involved in or observing demonstrations have sustained serious injuries. Therefore, the Department of State recommends US citizens avoid all demonstrations for their own safety.”

The State Dept. also recommends that US citizens maintain “a high state of situational awareness, be aware of their surroundings at all times, avoid any unattended items or packages, and report any unusual or suspicious activities or items to police or other security officials. See below for specific safety and security information regarding Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israel’s northern region.”

Bon voyage!


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