Friday, November 16, 2012

Israel: British Foreign Office Restricts Citizens in Traveling Within 40 Kilometers of Gaza

Below is an updated travel warning for Israel issued by the British Foreign Office (http://www.fco.gov.uk). The warning comes after an escalation of hostilities between Israel and militants in the Palestinian Territory this week.

On November 15, three Israelis were reportedly killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip: the Israel Defence Force (IDF) responded by increasing its own aerial bombardment.
The Foreign Office’s warning puts Ashdod, Israel’s sixth-largest city and a port of call for cruise passengers visiting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, out of bounds to British travelers.
A significant number of rockets have been fired from Gaza, landing in cities in Southern Israel, including Ashdod and Be'er Sheva, said the Foreign Office on its website. Due to a continued risk of indiscriminate rocket fire from armed groups within Gaza, we advise against all but essential travel to areas within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Gaza perimeter (including Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be'er Sheva, and Kiryat Ha Malachi).
The Foreign Office added that two long-range missiles were fired towards Tel Aviv yesterday, and advises travelers in the city to monitor developments in the local media and to follow updates on the IDF. Local media reported on the evening of November 15, that two long- range missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Tel Aviv.  Reports that they hit locations in the city remain unconfirmed. No casualties have so far been reported.  We advise that you keep informed of developments through the local media and follow IDF announcements. This includes advice that you shoud seek information regarding your nearest bomb shelter and remain within close range of it.

The British government advise against all but essential travel to areas within 40 kilometers ( of Israel's border with Gaza.  On November 15, the IDF announced a military operation against Gazan militants.  A significant number of rockets have been fired from Gaza landing in cities in Southern Israel, including Ashdod and Be'er Sheva.  Due to a continued risk of indiscriminate rocket fire from armed groups within Gaza, we advise against all but essential travel to areas within 40km of the Gaza perimeter (including Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be'er Sheva, and Kiryat HaMalachi).  Those currently in Southern Israel should follow directives from the IDF. 

The Foreign Office advises against all travel to Gaza. There is a high risk of continued military exchanges in and around Gaza. On 5 August there was an attack on the Kerem Shalom border post, at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. Over twenty people were killed in the attack. 


The Rafah crossing is currently open from Saturday to Thursday, 0900-1700 hours. It is closed on Fridays and public holidays. The Rafah border crossing is in North Sinai and we advise against all travel to this area. The crossing is subject to occasional closure. If you intend to use it, check in advance as to whether it is open. 


The Foreign Office advises against any attempt to enter Gaza by sea, breaching the restrictions imposed by the Israeli navy. The Israeli Navy routinely patrol territorial waters and a contiguous zone. We continue to advise against participating in flotillas or overland convoys to Gaza because of the risks involved. Our ability to provide consular assistance in Gaza is extremely limited. On account of the uncertain situation there, we do not believe that humanitarian supplies should be delivered by an attempt to land goods through a sea journey. We advise anyone wishing to send humanitarian assistance or other goods to Gaza to do so only through official crossings and established governmental channels.