The U.S. State Department reiterated its travel warning to Yehudah, Shomron and Gaza Wednesday. In a message, the State Department warned Americans “against all travel to the Gaza Strip and urges those present to depart as soon as possible when border crossings are open. The security situation remains complex in Israel and the West Bank, and can change quickly depending on the political environment, recent events, and geographic location.
“U.S. citizens should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings when traveling to areas where there are heightened tensions and security risks,” the message said, adding that Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile. Violent demonstrations and shootings occur on a frequent basis and the collateral risks are high. While Israel and Hamas continue to observe the temporary cease-fire that ended the Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military response continue to occur.”
Americans also needed to be aware when visiting Yehudah and Shomron, the message added. “While the frequency of attacks has abated significantly since April 2016, the possibility of random violence continues to exist and can happen without warning,” the message said, acknowledging that “perceived religious affiliation was a factor in some of the attacks.”
In what appeared to observers to be a classic American example of “even-handedness,” the message said that “attacks were carried out using knives, vehicles and guns. Israeli security forces reacted with deadly force, which resulted in some bystanders being injured or killed in the crossfire.” However, the message did not point out who was carrying out those attacks against whom. The only mention of Palestinians or the Palestinian Authority in the message described how “the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority both make considerable efforts to police major tourist attractions and ensure security, particularly in areas where foreigners frequently travel.”