Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

  • Reviewed: 25 October 2017, 15:10 NZDT
  • Still current at: 21 November 2017

Extreme Risk

There is extreme risk to your security in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza (including the waters off Gaza). We advise against all travel due to the unpredictable security situation, threat of kidnapping and potential for retaliatory military operations. 

New Zealanders currently in Gaza are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so. The New Zealand government has an extremely limited ability to provide assistance to New Zealand nationals in Gaza. 

There is extreme risk to your security in Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar located along the border with Lebanon (the “Blue Line”). We advise against all travel due to the possibility of rocket fire, militant activity and military operations. 

There is extreme risk to your security within three kilometres of the border with Syria due to the possibility of rocket fire, militant activity and military operations and we advise against all travel to the border area. 

High Risk

There is high risk to your security in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem). We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel due to the unpredictable security situation and the potential for acts of violence and violent civil unrest. 

Some Risk

There is some risk to your security in Israel due to the threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest and we advise caution. New Zealanders in Israel should also be aware that the on-going conflict in Syria is having a destabilising effect on the region and this could also affect the security situation in Israel. We recommend you follow any advice and instructions issued by the local authorities. See the Israel Defence Forces Home Front Command website for details.  

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Gaza (extreme risk)
The security situation in Gaza is unpredictable. We advise against all travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza). New Zealanders currently in Gaza are advised to depart.

In July 2014, an escalation in hostilities resulted in Israeli airstrikes and a ground military operation in Gaza. While a ceasefire was declared in August 2014, tensions remain high.

We strongly advise against any attempt to enter Gaza by sea in breach of Israeli navy restrictions or participating in any attempt to break the naval blockade, including participation in flotillas to deliver aid. The Israeli Navy conducts routine patrols of these waters and has made public undertakings to prevent any vessel from breaching restrictions. Previous attempts to breach the blockade have resulted in deaths, injuries and the deportation of foreign nationals.

There is a high risk of kidnapping in Gaza and foreigners may be targeted. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.

New Zealanders who decide to travel and remain in Gaza against our advice should ensure that appropriate personal security protection measures are in place at all times. We strongly recommend you consult a reputable security company (with experience in Gaza) for advice on security arrangements, which should be reviewed on a regular basis. Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures and how to respond to warning sirens, including the location of the nearest emergency shelters. Such measures may mitigate the risks to your safety but cannot eliminate them entirely.

West Bank (high risk)
We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem). The security situation in the West Bank remains tense and volatile. Regular demonstrations take place and unrest can occur at short notice. There is the potential for violence between Israeli settlers and Palestinians and there are frequent military and security operations which can impede movement. Israeli military checkpoints exist throughout the West Bank and have in the past been flash points for violent incidents.

New Zealanders in the West Bank are advised to maintain a high degree of security awareness, keep a low profile and monitor local information sources to keep up to date with events that could affect security. Travel at night should be avoided.

Terrorism
There is an ongoing threat of terrorism throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Attacks could occur at any time – the situation is highly unpredictable. Previous incidents have involved explosive devices and shooting, arson and knife attacks. Terrorist attacks have occurred recently in a number of populated centres, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, resulting in deaths and injuries. On 14 July 2017, three police officers were shot in Jerusalem’s Old City, causing 2 fatalities. On 8 January 2017, a vehicle ramming attack occurred in Jerusalem. The attack killed 4 soldiers and injured 17 others. On 8 June 2016, an attack in central Tel Aviv killed 4 people and injured 6 more.

New Zealanders are advised to be security conscious at all times. We advise extra vigilance in crowded or landmark places and when using public transport, such as buses and light rail, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Possible terrorist targets include (but are not limited to) hotels, bars, restaurants, markets, shopping areas, schools, places of worship or religious significance, tourist sites, transport infrastructure, security checkpoints and areas where security forces are present.

Increases in tension, hostilities or violence may be accompanied by indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel. Areas throughout Israel could be targeted by rocket fire. While most rocket fire falls in unpopulated areas, rockets have previously reached Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Hadera.  Rockets from Lebanon, Egypt and Syria have also landed in northern Israel, Eilat and the Golan Heights.

Civil Unrest
There are ongoing tensions and at times incidents of violence throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Unrest may occur in areas frequented by tourists, particularly in the Old City and East Jerusalem. Violent clashes have occurred previously around the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount site.

New Zealanders are advised to avoid all political gatherings, protests and demonstrations throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as they have the potential to lead to violence. If you find yourself in an area affected by demonstrations, violence or military activity, you should find a safe location, remain indoors and heed any local advice. Monitor local news reports and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Military Activity
Areas of military activity should be avoided at all times and we recommend you adhere to any restrictions and instructions issued by the local authorities, such as curfews and travel restrictions, which may be imposed at times of unrest in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. 

New Zealanders should be aware that acts of terrorism anywhere in Israel may lead to military intervention in Gaza and the West Bank.

Landmines
There are live landmines along the Israeli borders with Lebanon and Jordan, and in the Golan Heights and parts of the West Bank. Some may not be marked, or clearly indicated. We recommend you stay on well used roads and paths in these areas.

Border Crossings
Particular care should be exercised at border crossing points into and out of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, where tensions are particularly high. Instructions issued by the border authorities should be adhered to at all times.

Entry into and exit from the occupied Palestinian territories into Israel remains tightly controlled by the Israeli authorities. If you are a New Zealand national of Palestinian origin (on the Palestinian Population Register or holding a Palestinian ID number), you will need a Palestinian passport/travel document in order to leave. Such New Zealand/Palestinian dual nationals are permitted to travel abroad from Gaza and the West Bank only via the Rafah or Allenby Bridge border crossings.

The Rafah border crossing is in the North Sinai Governorate of Egypt where we advise against all travel due to the threat from terrorism, kidnapping and criminal activity. See our Egypt travel advisory for further information.

If you intend on entering Gaza via the Rafah border crossing there are restrictions and rules on crossing. The Rafah crossing may open or close at short notice and may remain closed for extended periods. New Zealanders must receive permission from the Egyptian authorities to enter and exit Gaza and those that enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing must leave the same way. You also need to be prepared to delay your departure from Gaza for an extended period (possibly weeks) while waiting for approval from the Egyptian authorities to return to Egypt and for the crossing to open. The New Zealand Government cannot influence the granting of approval to use the crossing or when the border will open.

Travellers entering Israel via the Allenby Bridge crossing who indicate they are planning to travel to the West Bank may have their passports stamped “Palestinian Authority Only”. This stamp means the passport holder is restricted to West Bank destinations and prevented from entering Israel and Jerusalem. Travellers should be alert to the stamp they receive in their passport. Airport officials may require travellers to sign a form that prohibits them from entering the West Bank.

General Travel Advice
On 6 March 2017 Israel’s Parliament passed a law which gives authority to deny entry to foreign nationals who have privately, or belong to an organisation which has publicly called for a boycott of Israel or its settlements.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to avoid offending local sensitivities.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel to the occupied Palestinian territories – exclusions may well apply.


The New Zealand Embassy Cairo, Egypt covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Street Address 8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt Telephone +202 2461 6000 Fax +202 2461 6099 Email enquiries@nzembassy.org.eg Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/egypt Hours Sun-Thur 0900-1500 hrs Note In an emergency or if you require urgent assistance, please call the Embassy on +202 2461 6000. Outside of business hours you will be redirected to an after-hours duty service.

The New Zealand Embassy Ankara, Turkey covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Street Address Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Turkey Telephone + 90 312 446 3333 Fax +90 312 446 3317 Email newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/turkey Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

New Zealand Honorary Consulate Tel Aviv, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Street Address 3 Daniel Frish St 6473104, Tel Aviv, Israel Telephone +972 3 695 1869 Fax +972 3 695 0817 Email nz.honconil@gmail.com

See our regional advice for the Middle East

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Covered by New Zealand Embassy Egypt

Street Address
8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt

Telephone: +202 2461 6000

Fax: +202 2461 6099

Email: enquiries@nzembassy.org.eg

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/egypt

Hours: Sun-Thur 0900-1500 hrs

Covered by New Zealand Embassy Turkey

Street Address
Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Turkey

Telephone: + 90 312 446 3333

Fax: +90 312 446 3317

Email: newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/turkey

Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

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