The US state department is reminding citizens that a travel advisory for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is still in place.
“The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza,” the State Department said. “US citizens need to be aware of the continuing risks of travel to areas…where there are heightened tensions and security risks.”
The advisory was issued in February, and the state department had it reissued this week ahead of the busy travel week of Christmas, a time when many visitors plan to journey to Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
Ezra Schwartz, a native of Massachusetts, was killed last month in an attack by a Palestinian gunman in the Gush Etzion area of Jewish settlements between Jerusalem and Hebron.
From the state department:
The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Gaza Strip; U.S. government employees are not allowed to conduct official or personal travel there. U.S. government personnel require special security arrangements if traveling inside Israel within seven kilometers of the Gaza demarcation line. With the exception of Jericho and Bethlehem, U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel to the West Bank. Due to security concerns, U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses throughout Israel and the West Bank, and must obtain advance approval if they wish to travel within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the Lebanon border, or travel on or east of Route 98 in the Golan Heights. U.S. citizens should take into consideration the following information, including the rules governing travel in this region by U.S. government employees. This replaces the Travel Warning issued September 10, 2014.