Warning: Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
released June 20, 2005, this information is current as of
Monday, November 7, 2005. Travel
Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that
Americans avoid a certain country.
This travel warning is being issued to update information on travel
restrictions for U.S. government personnel in the West Bank and
to reiterate threats to American citizens and interests in Israel,
the West Bank and Gaza. It supersedes the Travel Warning issued
April 7, 2005.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully weigh
the necessity of their travel to Israel in light of the risks noted
below. The Department also urges U.S. citizens to defer unnecessary
travel to the West Bank and avoid all travel to Gaza.
Terrorist attacks within Israel have declined in both frequency
and associated casualties. However, the potential for further violence
remains high. Resentment against efforts to promote peace, and
ongoing Israeli military operations in the Occupied Territories
could incite further violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Israeli security services report that they are investigating between
40 and 60 planned terrorist attacks at any given time. The February
25 suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub is a reminder of the
precarious security environment, even when a cease-fire has been
The anticipated evacuation of Israeli settlers from Gaza could
lead to violence in Israel by settler groups. Settler organizations
have already organized a series of large-scale demonstrations and
are reportedly planning acts of civil disobedience and other protests
that at best will be severely disruptive and at worst may result
in physical confrontations leading to violence.
The U.S. Government has received information indicating that American
interests within Israel could be the focus of terrorist attacks.
For that reason, American citizens are cautioned that a greater
danger may exist in the vicinity of restaurants, businesses, and
other places associated with U.S. interests and/or located near
U.S. official buildings, such as the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and
the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem.
Throughout Jerusalem, the State Department urges American citizens
to remain vigilant while traveling, especially within the commercial
and downtown areas of West Jerusalem. Israeli security services
report that they continue to receive information of planned terrorist
attacks around Jerusalem. In addition, American citizens should
stay away from demonstrations and generally avoid crowded public
places, such as restaurants and cafes, shopping and market areas
and malls, pedestrian zones, public transportation of all kinds,
including buses and trains and their respective stations/terminals,
and the areas around them. Spontaneous or planned protests within
the Old City are possible, especially after Friday prayers. Some
of these protests have led to violent clashes.
American employees of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S.
Consulate General in Jerusalem are prohibited from using all public
transportation. The Old City of Jerusalem is off-limits to them
after dark all week and between the hours of 11:00 A.M. and 2:00
P.M. on Fridays. U.S. government employees are also forbidden from
patronizing discos and nightclubs.
American citizens in Gaza should depart immediately, a recommendation
the State Department has maintained since the deadly roadside bombing
of a U.S. Embassy convoy in Gaza on October 15, 2003. U.S. government
personnel are prohibited from all travel in Gaza. Overall conditions
of lawlessness prevail, Israeli military operations continue, and
areas of violent conflict shift rapidly and unpredictably. Militants
have abducted Western citizens and held them for short periods,
and the Hamas terrorist organization has threatened attacks against
and October 2004 and February 2005, citizens of Western nations,
Americans, involved in pro-Palestinian volunteer
efforts were assaulted and injured in the Occupied Territories
by Israeli settlers and harassed by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Those taking part in demonstrations, non-violent resistance, and “direct
action”, are advised to cease such activity for their own
For official operational needs only, U.S. Government personnel
are permitted to travel to and stop in cities and towns in the
West Bank, depending on prevailing security conditions. For limited,
personal travel, U.S. government personnel and family members are
permitted to transit the West Bank on primary roads to reach the
Allenby/King Hussein bridge and the Dead Sea coast, north of Ein
Gedi and Masada, in the south. For safety and security reasons
all cities, towns and settlements in the West Bank, including Jericho
and Bethlehem, remain strictly off-limits for personal travel by
U.S. government personnel and family members. U.S. government personnel
and family members are expressly prohibited from using Route 443
between Modi'in and Jerusalem for personal travel.
All travelers who enter or travel in Gaza or the West Bank should
exercise particular care when approaching and traveling through
checkpoints and should expect delays and difficulties. Travelers
should also be aware they might not be allowed passage through
Any American Citizen who intends to travel to Israel, the West
Bank or Gaza in spite of this and prior warnings should carefully
review the Consular Information Sheet for Israel, The West Bank
and Gaza. That reference describes other potential dangers and
difficulties and offers detailed security recommendations. Palestinian-Americans
face many additional obstacles and regulations that are described
in that document.
Americans who remain in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are strongly
encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy
in Tel Aviv or the Consulate General in Jerusalem through the State
Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov.
U.S. citizens who require emergency services may telephone the
Consulate General in Jerusalem at (972) (2) 622-7250 or the Embassy
in Tel Aviv at (972) (3) 519-7355.
However, periodically the Embassy and Consulate General may temporarily
suspend public services to review their security posture. As a
consequence of the current limitations on official travel to the
West Bank, and the prohibition on travel by U.S. government employees
to Gaza, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance
to U.S. citizens in these areas is considerably reduced.
on travel and security in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank may
be obtained from the Department of State by calling
1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444.
U.S. citizens should consult the Consular Information Sheet for
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza; the Middle East and North Africa
Public Announcement; and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement
at the Department’s Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.
Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed
at http://usembassy-israel.org.il or http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov.
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