Foreign travel advice

The Occupied Palestinian Territories

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

Safety and security

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

You should keep up to date with local travel advice via local news outlets and international outlets like the Access Coordination Unit

Local travel

Jerusalem

There are frequent demonstrations in many of the areas of the city visited by tourists including in and around the Old City, especially after Friday prayers. Some of these protests have led to violent clashes. Stay alert at all times in the Old City and leave the area if there is evidence of tension or unrest (for example if the shops in the souks suddenly begin to close their shutters). The entrances to the Old City may be subject to checks or closures.

Isolated street protests and demonstrations can also occur elsewhere in East Jerusalem.

There have been a number of violent incidents on public transport and near public transport lines in Jerusalem, including the Light Rail network. You should avoid using buses in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv

Take extra care when using public transport in Tel Aviv, in particular at transport hubs, and when using buses in the greater Tel Aviv area. You may wish to consider using other forms of transport.

Gaza

The FCO advise against all travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza). You should not approach the perimeter fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.

The FCO can no longer offer routine consular assistance in Gaza. If you travel to Gaza you should review your security arrangements regularly and make sure you know what to do if you hear a warning siren.

The FCO is not able to support individuals applying for entry or exit permits for Gaza. See Entering the Occupied Palestinian Territories

There have been mass protests on the Gazan side of the Gaza/Israel perimeter fence since March 2018. These protests may continue for some time. There is an increased risk of security incidents and of tension at checkpoints in Gaza during this period. You should avoid demonstrations, follow instructions of local authorities and keep up to date with local media and travel reports.

The FCO recognises the need for major international organisations to carry out humanitarian and reconstruction work and to engage in independent reporting and verification of the situation on the ground in Gaza. Medical and other essential specialist staff should co-ordinate their entry to and exit from Gaza with those organisations.

Do not attempt to enter Gaza by sea, including via a flotilla. The Israeli Navy routinely patrol the area and have made clear that it will prevent any vessels attempting to breach the restrictions. You will be detained and deported, and your electronic equipment is likely to be confiscated. The FCO does not believe that humanitarian supplies should be delivered in this way. Anyone wishing to send humanitarian assistance or other goods to Gaza should do so through established channels.

In 2010 Israeli forces boarded a ship bound for Gaza. Nine foreign nationals were killed and many more injured.

Occupied Golan Heights

The FCO advise against all travel to the east of Route 98 along the Syrian border.

Rocket attacks and sporadic gunfire have occurred in northern Israel without warning since 2012. Although there has been a significant decrease since the military situation on the Syrian Golan stabilised in 2018, a residual threat remains. If you are travelling in the area, follow advice from local law enforcement.

Border with Lebanon

The FCO advise against all travel to the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar and within 500m of the border with Lebanon (the ‘Blue Line’) east of Metula, including the northern edge of the town. If travelling near areas of military operation, adhere to all Israeli official instructions.

There have been increased tensions between Israel and Lebanon. From December 2018 to January 2019, Israel carried out an operation to destroy “Hizballah underground tunnels” which cross the Blue Line from Lebanon into Israel. Israel has also been constructing a security barrier along the Blue Line, with some sections in disputed territory.

The situation on the ground could change quickly. On 1 September 2019 there was an exchange of fire between the militant group Hizballah and the Israeli Defence Force across the Blue Line, with material damage but no reported injuries on either side. You should keep up to date with the news and this travel advice while travelling.

Border with Egypt

The security situation on the border with Egypt remains volatile. Take extra care and be vigilant when using Route 10 which runs along the Israeli border with Egypt and is subject to closures by the Israeli authorities. You may wish to consider using other routes.

West Bank

Expect road closures and numerous checkpoints across the West Bank. Travel in and out of the West Bank is not possible without passing through at least one Israeli military checkpoint. You will need a passport and immigration slip to go through these checkpoints.

The Israeli authorities sometimes restrict movement in and out of the West Bank, either on Jewish High Holidays or as a result of a security incident. This doesn’t normally affect foreign nationals, but would affect dual Palestinian-British nationals. Road closures can occur with little notice. You should keep up to date with local travel updates.

There have been several violent incidents, particularly in the northern West Bank area (north of Tappuah) including throwing of stones and other objects on Route 60. There have been arrests of individuals carrying weapons in Nablus. You should be especially vigilant in this region.

The cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jericho see large numbers of tourists including on organised tours and there have been no recent reports of any serious incidents involving foreigners. However, you should take care when travelling anywhere in the West Bank. Demonstrations and violent incidents can occur without warning particularly in areas close to refugee camps across the West Bank and in the cities of Jenin, Nablus and Hebron. You should avoid all demonstrations or large gatherings, including student protests.

Israelis living in the illegal settlements in the West Bank occasionally organise demonstrations in the West Bank which sometimes turn violent. Take particular care if you are near any of these settlements, including those in the hills around Nablus and in the South Hebron hills. There is a closed military zone in the H2 area of Hebron (around Ash-Shuhada Street and the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs), where there is a risk of a hostile reaction from members of extremist groups.

There are also regular demonstrations against the route of the separation barrier in various locations including the villages of Bil’in, Ni’lin, Nabi Saleh, Jayyous, and Al Mas’ara. These frequently turn violent. It is extremely dangerous to attend these demonstrations.

Due to a significant number of road traffic accidents involving taxis in the West Bank, you’re advised not to use them where possible.

Due to restrictions on travel, the ability of the FCO to provide consular assistance in the West Bank may be limited.

Crime

Most visits to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are trouble-free, but the theft of passports, credit cards, and valuables from public beaches is common. Keep your personal belongings in a safe place.

Crime is generally not a problem in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but you should take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

Passport security

A Serious Organised Crime Agency investigation into the misuse of UK passports in the murder of Mahmud al-Mabhuh in Dubai in January 2010 found circumstantial evidence of Israeli involvement in the fraudulent use of British passports. This has raised the possibility that your passport details could be captured for improper uses while your passport is out of your control. The risk applies in particular to passports without biometric security features. Only hand your passport over to others (including Israeli officials) when absolutely necessary.

Road travel

Driving is erratic and there are frequent accidents. Radar speed traps operate on roads within Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories, and fines for speeding are high.

If you intend to drive in the West Bank, check that you are insured before setting out. It may be easier to arrange West Bank insurance at a hire company in East Jerusalem than from the major hire car companies in Israel.

It’s not safe to hitchhike in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.

If you’re travelling to the desert, go with others, take a supply of water and a mobile phone, and let someone know your itinerary and expected time of return.