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Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Apr 05, 2002

This Travel Warning notes the deteriorating security situation in Israel and informs travelers of ongoing military activity in the West Bank and Gaza and increasing delays and difficulties experienced at checkpoints located throughout the West Bank and Gaza. American Consulate General dependents in Jerusalem have been authorized to depart voluntarily as a result of the increase in terrorist attacks and escalation in violence there. This Travel Warning supersedes that of December 7, 2001.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Ongoing violence has caused numerous civilian deaths and injuries, including to some American tourists. The potential for further terrorist acts remains high. The situation in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank remains extremely volatile with continuing terrorist attacks, confrontations and clashes. As a result of the ongoing violence, the Department of State has authorized the voluntary departure from Jerusalem of U.S. Consulate dependents. The Consulate General will continue to provide consular services.

In light of this development, Americans are urged to review their personal security situations and to take those actions they deem appropriate to ensure their well-being, including consideration of departure from these areas. Private Americans who are in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza despite this warning should follow the precautions detailed below and remain in close communication with the American Embassy in Tel Aviv and the American Consulate General in Jerusalem for more detailed information. American citizens residing in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem should consider relocating to a safe location.

U.S. Government personnel in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are under tight security controls, including prohibition of travel to the West Bank and Gaza. Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to sections of Jerusalem, including areas in both West and East Jerusalem, depending on current security conditions.

American citizens in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza should avoid locations such as restaurants and cafes, shopping areas and malls, pedestrian zones, public buses and bus stops or other crowded venues and the areas around them. American citizens should be particularly careful in Jerusalem, where frequent terrorist acts have occurred and the potential for terrorist bombings remains high. Americans should also avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Roads designed for Israeli settlers including those in East Jerusalem have been the site of frequent shooting attacks and roadside explosives, sometimes resulting in death or injury. U.S. Embassy and Consulate employees and their families have been prohibited from using public buses throughout Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

As a result of ongoing military activity in the West Bank and Gaza, sections of those areas have been declared closed military zones and have been subject to intense shelling and firing. In some instances, Americans have been wounded and their property damaged. Because of the closures and fighting, provision of medical and humanitarian care has been severely delayed in those areas. In addition, dual Palestinian American citizens may encounter difficulties entering and/or departing the West Bank and Gaza during times of Israeli closures in those areas. All travelers who enter or travel in Gaza or the West Bank should expect delays and difficulties at checkpoints located throughout those areas, and should exercise particular care when approaching and traveling through checkpoints. Travelers should also be aware that passage through the checkpoints may be denied.

From time to time, the Embassy and Consulate General may temporarily suspend public services to review their security posture. Travel restrictions on official travel into the West Bank and Gaza impair the Embassy's and Consulate General's ability to render emergency services to American citizens in the West Bank and Gaza. In those instances, U.S. citizens who require emergency services may telephone the Consulate General in Jerusalem at (972) (2) 622-7230 or the Embassy in Tel Aviv at (972) (3) 519-7355.

For further information on travel to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. The most up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at www.usembassy-israel.org.il or www.uscongen-jerusalem.org.

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