Last Updated: 05 December 2001
Still Current at: 12 December 2001
We strongly advise against travel to the West Bank and Gaza, to the Sheba'a Farm/Har Dov section of the Israel/Lebanon border, and to the Israel/Gaza border areas. There are continuing serious clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in several locations throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Terrorist attacks within Israel and the Occupied Territories, including Jerusalem, continue. The risk of further unpredictable and indiscriminate attacks remains very high. Car and suicide bombs have been used and targets include crowded public areas and public transport.
Any increase in regional tension might affect travel advice. Visitors should therefore keep in touch with regional developments and monitor travel advice if the situation deteriorates.
The risk of terrorist bomb attacks in Israel and the Occupied Territories including Jerusalem is very high during the present crisis in the Middle East Peace Process. Terrorist targets include crowded public areas such as shopping malls, busy streets, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and public transport. Car bombs and suicide bombers have been used against these types of targets. These attacks are not aimed at British interests, but particularly in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, are often in areas frequented by tourists. They therefore pose a threat to visitors because of their unpredictable and indiscriminate nature. Visitors need to be aware of the risk and to take account of it. From time to time the Israeli authorities issue warnings of specific threats. Visitors should take seriously any such warnings and act on any advice they offer.
We are not aware of any specific threat to British nationals as a result of the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September and the subsequent military action in Afghanistan. British nationals, in particular those unfamiliar with local conditions, should remain alert, take sensible precautions for their personal safety, and avoid any public or political gatherings and demonstrations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Since Israel withdrew from South Lebanon in May 2000 the Israel/Lebanon border has been peaceful apart from the Sheba'a Farm/Har Dov area to the west of Mt Hermon. We strongly advise against travel to that area.
Visitors should avoid travelling close to the Israeli side of the Israel/Gaza border because of the risk of stray shots, sniper fire or mortars.
Visitors should not hitch-hike.
Jerusalem is a complex city, home to both Israelis and Palestinians, and its future status is one of the key issues at the heart of the Middle East Peace Process. Any upsurge in the continuing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians could affect the security situation in Jerusalem. Major terrorist bomb attacks have taken place in Jerusalem, including areas frequented by tourists, and the numbers and severity of attacks have increased recently. Foreign nationals have not been targeted in either type of incident, but there remains a high risk of being caught up in them by chance.
We strongly advise tourists to use the services of tour guides/tourist agencies when visiting the Old City and other major tourist attractions in Jerusalem. However, we advise against visiting the Old City on Fridays. Other visitors, including businessmen, should take advice from local contacts on which areas of Jerusalem to avoid. Visitors to Jerusalem should continue to pay heed to the rest of this travel advice and should not travel to Bethlehem, Jericho or any other area of the West Bank or Gaza.
We advise against travel to the West Bank and Gaza.
Over 1000 people have been killed in clashes between Israelis and Palestinians since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000. We do not detect any improvement in the security situation. The number of clashes may have decreased, but the severity of exchanges and number of casualties remain high. Movement in and out of and around the West Bank is difficult because of restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities. It can also be extremely dangerous. Roadblocks and sporadic shootings with fatal consequences remain a hazard throughout the West Bank and Gaza. We therefore advise against non-essential travel, even during daylight and certainly not at night. Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank and Gaza have been the scene of violent clashes and should be avoided at all times.
Resident British Nationals
We urge any British nationals currently in the West Bank and Gaza who have no pressing or urgent reason to remain to give serious consideration to leaving. However in the light of the security situation and travel restrictions, British nationals should contact the British Consulate in Jerusalem before attempting to leave.
There is no certainty that we could organise an evacuation of the West Bank and Gaza if the situation deteriorated further. The longer you delay your departure, the more difficult it may become for you and/or your family to leave.
British/Palestinian dual nationals need a permit from the Israeli authorities before they leave the West Bank/Gaza. If you think you might be affected by this requirement, you should contact the British Consulate in Jerusalem before attempting to leave.
There is increased security at all UK airports and travellers should allow extra time for checking in. There is the possibility that some flights might be delayed. Travellers are advised to contact their airline for latest information. British Airways and El Al are operating normal services from London Heathrow. All UK carriers have been advised to avoid Afghanistan airspace until further notice.
Visitors or residents travelling on their own and not in a group should be particularly careful to keep wallets, money and valuables out of sight. The theft of passports, credit cards and valuables from public beaches is commonplace.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Visitors should ensure that they comply with customs regulations. Those arriving with valuable personal items (computers, camcorders etc) may be required to pay a deposit that is refundable on or after departure. Tax may be levied on items sent to visitors already in Israel.
Working in Israel without the proper authority can result in detention followed by deportation, a process that might take several months.
Visitors should take care not to take photographs of military or police personnel or installations.
Visitors to Israel holding passports with less than six months validity may be turned away by airlines and ferries, and can be refused entry at the Israeli border.
British nationals of Palestinian origin (those on the Palestinian Population Register or who hold Palestinian or Jerusalem ID cards) who arrive for a visit of less than three months can present their British passport on arrival and departure, but will need to obtain an exit permit prior to departure. This usually takes about 24 hours to arrange. For a visit lasting longer than three months a British national of Palestinian origin will need to obtain a Palestinian passport/travel Document in order to leave Israel.
Medical treatment and particularly procedures involving hospitalisation can be very expensive. It is essential that travellers take out full insurance cover.
As well as full insurance cover for medical treatment and accidents, travellers should have cover for unexpected losses such as cancelled flights, stolen cash, credit cards, passport or luggage.
Lengthy personal questioning and baggage searches by security officials can be expected on arrival and departure from Israel. Electrical items may be taken from departing passengers for security inspection and returned to them in UK. Damage may occur.
British nationals in Israel and the Palestinian Authority are strongly advised to register with and to follow local advice issued by the British Embassy/Consulate-General.
For those in Israel register at the British Embassy's Consular Section, 1 Ben-Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv 63801; (tel: +972 3 5100166) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours (GMT) Visa Section: Mon-Fri: 0800-1130; Passport and Consular Section: Mon-Thur: 0800-1300, Fri: 0800-1230 website: www.britemb.org.il.
For those in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip: register at the British Consulate-General, 19 Nashashibi Street, Sheikh Jarrah Quarter, PO Box 19690 East Jerusalem, 97200; (tel: +972 2 541 4100); e-mail: email@example.com website address: www.britishconsulate.org (a registration form is available on the Consular page of the web site).
Office hours (GMT)(Sept-Mar): Mon-Thur: 0530-1330; Fri: 0530-1130; (Apr-Sept): Mon-Thur: 0630-1430; Fri: 0630-1230,
Factsheet: Israel and the Palestinian Authority
Travellers' Tips: Israel and the Palestinian Authority
UK Mission: Israel and the Palestinian Authority
The FCO strongly recommends that all travellers abroad take out comprehensive insurance. For medical/inoculations advice: contact your GP, and refer to the Department of Health website. For visa information: contact the relevant Embassy/Consulate in London. NB: While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither Her Majesty's Government nor any member of British consular staff abroad can accept liability for injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein. This information is subject to Crown Copyright protection. Capture and re-publication of country-specific Travel Advice notices is not permitted. Any person who captures and re-publishes FCO Travel Advice notices will be liable to prosecution.