Palestine Travel Advice

Last updated on the 18th May 2007

Summary

Travel to the Gaza strip is strongly advised against and travel to the West Bank only if essential.

This advice contains information about travel in the whole of Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories

You are advised to exercise a high degree of caution in Israel at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack. We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by tourists. While the official cessation of hostilities came into effect on 14 August 2006, stability in the northern region could deteriorate without notice. You should follow the security-related instructions of Israeli authorities.

A high degree of caution is to be exercised in Israel due to the high threat of terrorist attack. Continuing reports are that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by tourists. While the official cessation of hostilities came into effect on 14 August 2006, stability in the northern region could deteriorate without notice. You should follow the security-related instructions of Israeli authorities.

You should pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. We strongly advise you not to travel to the Gaza Strip or the West Bank because of the extremely dangerous security situation and the possibility of civil unrest. If you are in the Gaza Strip, we urge you to contact the your Embassy immediately.

Recent credible reporting indicates that terrorists may be planning to kidnap foreign nationals from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. There have been a significant number of kidnappings of foreign nationals in the past. On 15 April 2007, a British journalist working in Gaza was kidnapped.

The Palestinian Authority requires all travellers to the Gaza Strip to register their movements. We recommend you contact your national Representative Office in Palestine to assist with this process.

If in spite of the advice to leave the Gaza Strip or the West Bank you decide to stay in these areas, you should ensure you have adequate and continuous close personal protection from a professional security service. The ability of your Government to provide consular services to yourselves in these areas may be severely limited.

Large sometimes violent demonstrations and threats to western interests have occurred in the Palestinian Territories. You should avoid any large gatherings and demonstrations, pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for updates.

In light of the very high threat of terrorist activity throughout Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank it is strongly recommended that you register your travel and contact details so you can be contacted in an emergency.

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Many policies do not cover you if your claim is the result of terrorism. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Safety and Security

Terrorism

You are advised to exercise a high degree of caution in Israel due to the high threat of terrorist attack. Recent reports indicate that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by tourists.

The risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks is very high throughout the country. Attacks could occur at any time and could be directed against locations such as hotels, clubs, restaurants and caf├ęs, bars, schools, marketplaces, places of worship, outdoor promenades, shopping malls, recreation events and tourist areas, such as Eilat, as well as buses and bus stations. On 29 January 2007, a suicide attack occurred in a residential shopping centre in Eilat killing three people.

Developments in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and the region may prompt terrorist attacks. You should regularly check the media for news about the region.

Due to safety and security concerns it has been advised not to use the public bus network in Israel.

Civil Unrest/Political Tension

If you decide to travel to Israel, you should exercise a high degree of caution and follow the security-related instructions of Israeli authorities. While the official cessation of hostilities came into effect on 14 August 2006, the stability in the northern region could deteriorate without notice.

If you are caught up in military action or civil disorder, it is safest, in the absence of other advice, to remain indoors.

Tensions between Israeli forces and Palestinians remain high and there are ongoing clashes between Palestinian militants and the Israeli Defence Force in the Palestinian Territories. There is also occasional violence between Israelis and Palestinians around settlements, as well as tensions between rival Palestinian factions. Israeli military operations in cities and towns in the West Bank and Gaza can occur without notice. Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have hit the cities of Ashkelon and Sderot in the south. On 15 May 2007, 17 people were injured when five rockets hit a school and a house in Sderot.

Large, sometimes violent, demonstrations and threats to western interests have occurred in the Palestinian Territories. You should avoid any large public demonstrations and gatherings (including funerals), pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for updates. Israel security forces monitor such gatherings and may intervene.

Gaza Strip and the West Bank

We strongly advise you not to travel to the Gaza Strip or the West Bank because of the extremely dangerous security situation. If you are in the Gaza Strip or West Bank you should leave if it is safe to do so. If you are in the Gaza Strip, we urge you to contact your national Embassy immediately. The Palestinian Authority requires all travellers to the Gaza Strip to register their movements. It is recommend you contact your national Representative Office in Palestine to assist with this process.

Recent credible reporting indicates that terrorists may be planning to kidnap foreign nationals from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. There have been a significant number of kidnappings of foreign nationals in the past. On 15 April 2007, a British journalist working in Gaza was kidnapped.

If in spite of the advice to leave the Gaza Strip or the West Bank you decide to stay in these areas, you should ensure you have adequate and continuous close personal protection from a professional security service. The ability of your national Government to provide consular services to yourselves in these areas may be severely limited.

Following the recent kidnappings, the Australian Representative Office in Ramallah has heightened security measures for staff travelling to Gaza and the United Nations has withdrawn its non-essential staff.

Checkpoints may be set up or closed at any time throughout Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. During any military operation the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) may declare areas a closed military zone. Any civilians found in the area in breach of this order can then be arrested, detained in prison and, where considered appropriate, deported.

Local Travel

There are live minefields in the border areas with Lebanon and Syria, and in the West Bank. Some minefields may not be clearly marked.

Driving in Israel is erratic and there are frequent accidents.

Airline Safety

The European Union (EU) has published a list of airlines that are subject to operating bans or restrictions within the EU. The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through its foreign assessment program focuses on a country's ability, not the individual airline, to adhere to international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance established by ICAO.

Natural Disasters

Israel and the Palestinian territories are located in an active earthquake zone. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Money and Valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques and cash. Check with your bank whether your ATM card will work overseas. Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home. While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage.

Local Laws and Customs

Israel is a country in which a number of religions and cultures mix. People feel strongly about their beliefs and customs. You should be aware of this at all times. For example, it is not wise to go into Jewish ultra-orthodox areas of Jerusalem on Shabbat (Saturday). Also, you should dress modestly in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

You should be aware that during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (which in 2007 falls between mid September and mid October), eating, drinking or smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims (though not for children under the age of eight). Although alcohol will be available in some hotels and restaurants, drinking alcohol elsewhere may cause offence. As a courtesy, you may wish to avoid drinking, eating and smoking in public places in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during Ramadan.

You should be sensitive about taking pictures of people in Muslim and Orthodox Jewish areas and you should take care not to take photographs of military or police personnel or installations.

When travelling around Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories you should carry identification at all times in case the local authorities ask to see it. You should carry photocopies of the date and entry stamp pages of your passport to avoid losing the original.

The penalties for smuggling and trafficking in illegal drugs are severe. Those caught in possession can expect a prison sentence and subsequent deportation.

When you are in Israel, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by other countries standards, do apply to you.

Disclaimer

Lampshade makes every effort to provide the most up-to-date information in this website. However, Lampshade does not provide advice of any kind, and shall not be responsible for the accuracy of the information presented herein, or your reliance thereon. Lampshade is not responsible for the content of its external sites.

Close window

www.lampshade.tv   info@lampshade.tv   ©Lampshade 2007