Foggy Bottom raised its travel advisory level for Israel and Judea and Samaria to Level 3—“reconsider travel”—on Wednesday and maintained its level four advisory (“do not travel”) for Gaza.
“Terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza,” per the U.S. State Department. “Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls and local government facilities.”
“Violence can occur in Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza, without warning,” it added. “There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what risk the “demonstrations” in Israel posed.
“Do not travel to Gaza due to terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict,” per the department. “Reconsider travel to Israel due to terrorism and civil unrest” and to “West Bank due to terrorism and civil unrest.”
Those who do travel to the area should “maintain a high degree of situational awareness and exercise caution at all times, especially at checkpoints and other areas with a significant presence of security forces,” avoid crowds, and know the location of bomb shelters and other forms of protected cover.
The State Department discouraged travel to Gaza “due to terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict.”
“The U.S. government is unable to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Gaza as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling there,” according to Foggy Bottom. “Hamas, a U.S. government-designated foreign terrorist organization, controls the security infrastructure in Gaza. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile.”
“Sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses may occur at any time,” it added. “During periods of unrest or armed conflict, the crossings between Gaza with Israel and Egypt may be closed.”
Those who travel to Gaza should expect “an indefinite stay, at the crossings between Gaza with Israel and Egypt can close without advance notice and for long periods during times of unrest and armed conflict.”
“Have a plan for entering and departing Gaza that does not rely on U.S. government assistance,” it advised.
U.S. government employees are “currently restricted from personal travel other than mission-critical travel” to Israel and to Judea and Samaria, per the advisory. “The embassy can impose even greater travel restrictions on its personnel, with little to no notice due to increased security issues or threats,” it added.