Foreign travel advice

The Occupied Palestinian Territories

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 (particularly at and around Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate, Lion’s Gate and the Chain Gate), 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.

Street protests and demonstrations can also occur elsewhere in East Jerusalem. You should be vigilant, exercise caution, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow instructions of local authorities. You should check the local news in advance and avoid areas which have been the site of recent clashes or violence.

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

The FCDO can no longer offer routine consular assistance in Gaza. If you travel to Gaza you should review your security arrangements regularly. Protests may occur in central Gaza City and along the perimeter fence with Israel. You should exercise extreme caution and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings. The border crossings with Israel (Erez) and Egypt (Rafah) may close with no advance notice. During periods of conflict between the de facto Hamas authorities and the Israeli government, the Israeli Air Forces may launch air strikes against targets inside Gaza. There will be no warning siren inside Gaza and there are no official air raid shelters. You should take advice from locals about the safest place to shelter.

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

The FCDO 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 patrols 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 FCDO 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.

Occupied Golan Heights

The FCDO advises 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 FCDO advises 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.

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.

Jenin and Nablus in the West Bank

The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to areas north of and including Jenin city, Burqin and Arranah in the north of the West Bank. This includes Jenin refugee camp and all areas north of this until the Jalamah checkpoint for access to Israel.

The FCDO also advises against all but essential travel to Nablus city, including the Balata and New Askar refugee camps and the area around Joseph’s Tomb

There are frequent clashes between Israeli Security Forces and Palestinians in these areas and violent incidents can occur without warning.

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, Israeli national 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.

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.

There is a risk of violent incidents, including stabbings, shootings, arson, vehicle rammings and stone throwing attacks on people and vehicles. These incidents have involved protestors (both Israelis and Palestinians), Israeli security forces and Israeli settlers. You should check the local news before travelling to see if there have been recent clashes and avoid areas which have been the site of recent violence. If you are in a location where an Israeli security operation or armed clashes are ongoing, you should stay inside and wait for the local authorities to confirm that the situation is calm before moving to a different location.

These incidents have occurred in Nablus, Jenin, Hebron, at Israeli checkpoints, around Palestinian refugee camps and along Route 60 (especially the junctions near Nablus), Route 443 and other West Bank arterial roads used by both Palestinians and Israelis. You should be vigilant, exercise caution, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow instructions of local authorities. You should check the local news in advance and avoid travelling to areas which have been the site of recent violence. You should also exercise extreme caution when driving on these routes, particularly at night.

Israelis living in the illegal settlements in the West Bank occasionally organise demonstrations in the West Bank which sometimes turn violent. There are also a number of reports of settlers threatening those travelling near to settlements and settlement outposts. Take particular care if you are near settlements, including those in the hills around Nablus and in the South Hebron hills and settlement outposts (e.g near Beit El, Homesh, Shilo, Evyatar, etc). 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.

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 FCDO 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

A green card is proof that you have vehicle insurance when driving abroad. You need to carry a green card to prove you have the minimum insurance cover in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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 is 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.

In 2019 there were 355 road deaths in the Israel (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 3.9 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.