The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the
risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the
Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to
U.S. interests in those locations. The Department
of State urges U.S. citizens to remain mindful of
security factors when planning travel to Israel and
the West Bank and to avoid all travel to the Gaza
Strip. This warning replaces the Travel Warning
issued August 14, 2009 to update information on the
general security environment in Israel, the West
Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Strip and Southern Israel
The State Department strongly urges that U.S.
citizens refrain from all travel to the Gaza Strip.
This recommendation applies to all U.S. citizens,
including journalists and aid workers. U.S.
citizens should be aware that as a consequence of a
longstanding prohibition on travel by U.S.
government employees into the Gaza Strip, the
ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance
to U.S. citizens there is extremely limited.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strictly controls
the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza
Strip, and has essentially sealed the border. The
security environment within Gaza and along its
borders, including its border with Egypt and its
seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. U.S. citizens
are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means,
including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza
by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels
and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and
deportation of U.S. citizens. From December 27,
2008, through January 17, 2009, the IDF conducted a
major military operation in Gaza. Israel and Hamas,
a State Department-designated foreign terrorist
organization that violently seized power in Gaza in
June 2007, declared separate truces to end the
fighting. Occasional small clashes continue to
occur along the border. Rockets and mortars are
still occasionally fired into Israel from Gaza, and
the IDF continues to conduct military operations
inside Gaza, including airstrikes. The IDF has also
declared an exclusion zone inside Gaza along the
border with Israel and has taken lethal measures
against individuals who enter it.
In the past, some rockets have travelled more
than 40 km (24 miles) from Gaza and landed as far
north as Yavne and Gadera and as far east as
Beersheva. As a result of possible IDF military
operations in Gaza and the ever-present risk of
rocket and mortar attacks into Israel from Gaza,
U.S. government personnel travelling in the vicinity
of the Gaza Strip border, to include the city of
Sderot, require approval from the Embassy's Regional
The West Bank
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to
exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces are now
deployed throughout the West Bank, including all
major cities. As a result, violence in recent years
has decreased markedly throughout the West Bank.
Nonetheless, demonstrations and violent incidents
can occur without warning. Vehicles have also been
the target of rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire
on West Bank roads. The IDF continues to carry out
security operations in the West Bank. Israeli
security operations, including incursions into
Palestinian population centers, can occur at any
time and lead to disturbances and violence. U.S.
citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially
dangerous situations. Some U.S. citizens involved
in demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained
serious injuries in confrontations with Israeli
settlers and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The
State Department recommends that U.S. citizens, for
their own safety, avoid demonstrations.
During periods of unrest, the Israeli government
sometimes closes off access to the West Bank and
those areas may be placed under curfew. All persons
in areas under curfew should remain indoors to avoid
risking arrest or injury. U.S. citizens have been
killed, seriously injured, or detained and deported
as a result of encounters with IDF operations in
Gaza and the West Bank. Travel restrictions may be
imposed by Israel with little or no warning. Strict
measures have frequently been imposed following
terrorist actions, and the movement of Palestinian
Americans, both those with residency status in the
West Bank or Gaza as well as foreign passport
holders, has been severely impeded. Current
security-related restrictions on travel by U.S.
government employees to the West Bank hinder the
ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance
to U.S. citizens.
The State Department urges U.S. citizens to
remain vigilant while traveling throughout
Jerusalem, especially within the commercial and
downtown areas of West Jerusalem and the city
center. Spontaneous or planned protests within the
Old City are possible, especially after Friday
prayers. Some of these protests have led to violent
clashes. Travelers should exercise caution at
religious sites on holy days, Fridays, Saturdays,
and Sundays. Isolated street protests and
demonstrations can also occur in areas of East
Jerusalem, including around Salah Ed-Din Street,
Damascus Gate, and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
U.S. government employees are authorized to visit
the Old City during daylight hours only except
between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on
Fridays. The area of the ramparts on the city wall
between Herod’s Gate and Lion’s Gate is off-limits
to U.S. Government personnel at all times. The
Sherover or Haas Promenade (scenic overlook) located
in Armon Hanatziv is open to U.S. government
personnel during daylight hours only.
Travel Restrictions for U.S. Government Personnel
Personal travel in the West Bank for U.S.
government personnel and their families is allowed
for limited mission-approved purposes in the areas
described below. They may travel to Jericho, or to
transit through the West Bank using Routes 1 and 90
to reach the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, or the
Dead Sea coast near Ein Gedi and Masada. They may
also travel north on Route 90 from the Allenby/King
Hussein Bridge to the Sea of Galilee. Use of these
routes is approved for transit purposes during
daylight hours, with stops permitted only at Qumran
National Park off Route 90 by the Dead Sea. Each
transit requires prior notification to the Consulate
General's security office.
U.S. Government personnel and family members are
permitted both official and personal travel on Route
443 between Modi'in and Jerusalem without prior
notification, during daylight hours only. All other
personal travel in the West Bank, unless
specifically authorized for mission-approved
purposes, is prohibited.
General Safety and Security
Israeli authorities remain concerned about the
continuing threat of terrorist attacks. U.S.
citizens are cautioned that a greater danger may
exist around 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. U.S. citizens are also urged to
exercise a high degree of caution and to use common
sense when patronizing restaurants, nightclubs,
cafes, malls, places of worship, and theaters,
especially during peak hours. Large crowds and
public gatherings have been targeted by terrorists
in the past and should be avoided to the extent
practicable. U.S. citizens should take into
consideration that public buses, and their
respective terminals are "off-limits" to U.S.
government personnel. U.S. government personnel
have been directed to avoid protests and
demonstrations. Personnel have also been urged to
maintain a high level of vigilance and situational
awareness at all times.
In the Golan Heights, there are live landmines in
many areas and visitors should walk only on
established roads or trails.
U.S. citizens planning
to travel to Israel or the West Bank should read
carefully the detailed information concerning entry
and exit difficulties in the Country Specific
Information sheet at:
U.S. citizens in
Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are
strongly encouraged to register with the Consular
Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the U.S.
Consulate General in Jerusalem through the State
Department's travel registration website,
Occasional warden messages issued by the Embassy and
the Consulate General are e-mailed to registered
U.S. citizens and are posted on State Department
websites to highlight time-sensitive security
U.S. citizens who require emergency services may
telephone the Consulate General in Jerusalem at
(972) (2) 628-7137, after hours (for emergencies):
(972) (2) 622-7250, or the Embassy in Tel Aviv at
(972) (3) 519-7575, after hours (for emergencies):
(972) (3) 519-7551.
Current information on
travel and security in Israel, the West Bank, and
the Gaza Strip may be obtained from the Department
of State by calling
within the United States and Canada, or, from
For additional and more in-depth information about
specific aspects of travel to these areas, U.S.
citizens should consult:
the Country Specific Information for Israel, the
West Bank and Gaza; and
the Worldwide Caution. These along with other
Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts and
Country Specific Information are available on
the Department's Internet website at
http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information
on security conditions can also be accessed at
Additionally, U.S. citizens are encouraged to sign
up to receive security-related information from the
U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv via email at the following
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