Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

  • Reviewed: 26 October 2023, 17:03 NZDT
  • Still current at: 26 February 2024

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COVID-19

If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Do not travel

Do not travel to the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza (including the waters off Gaza) due to the unpredictable security situation, threat of kidnapping and potential for military operations (level 4 of 4). 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.

Do not travel to Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar or within 5 kilometres of the border with Lebanon (the “Blue Line”) due to the risk of rocket fire, militant activity and military operations (level 4 of 4).

Do not travel to all parts of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to the east of route 98, or to the border area with Syria, due to the possibility of rocket fire, militant activity and military operations (level 4 of 4).

Do not travel to Israel’s border with Gaza due to civil unrest, the risk of rocket fire and military operations (level 4 of 4).

Do not travel to the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) due to the unpredictable security situation and the potential for violent civil unrest (level 4 of 4). 

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including in East Jerusalem, due to the unpredictable security situation (level 3 of 4). 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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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

We are providing information about the current conflict in Israel here - Israel: ongoing armed conflict | SafeTravel

Gaza
Mass protests on the Gazan side of the Gaza/Israel perimeter fence occur periodically and can be followed by military activity and casualties. There is a risk of increased tension at checkpoints in and around Gaza at these times.

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 clear that it will 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.

The New Zealand Government is unable to assist individuals in applying for permits for entry to or exit from Gaza. Individuals who wish to travel to Gaza, against our advice, will need to secure entry/exit permits with the relevant authorities directly. Crossings into and out of Gaza are regularly closed on short notice and for extended periods of time.

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
The security situation in the West Bank remains tense and volatile. Military operations, demonstrations 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 a heightened threat of terrorism throughout Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Attacks could occur at any time – the situation is highly unpredictable.

In the last year in Israel and the West Bank there have been numerous violent incidents, including stabbings, shootings, arson, vehicle rammings, explosions and stone throwing attacks on people and vehicles. These incidents have involved protestors (both Israelis and Palestinians), Israeli security forces, and civilians (including Israeli settlers). There is a risk that tourists or bystanders could be caught up in any of these types of incidents.

New Zealanders are advised to be security conscious at all times. We advise extra vigilance during public and religious holidays, including over Ramadan and Pesach (Passover), as well as in crowded or landmark places and when using public transport, such as the light rail, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. We advise against using public buses in the West Bank and Israel. 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 rocket and other artillery fire into Israel and Gaza. Rocket fire has targeted Israel from Gaza, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. While most rocket fire from Gaza 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 Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Rocket fire has targeted Gaza from Israel.

Civil unrest
There is a high threat of civil unrest in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the security situation is unpredictable and could deteriorate without warning. Throughout the region there have been numerous violent clashes between protesters, settlers and security forces, which have involved stabbings, shootings, arson and vehicle ramming. 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.

There is a risk of increased tensions during public and religious holidays and anniversaries, particularly in and around the Old City in Jerusalem. Be particularly vigilant during these times. We recommend that New Zealanders avoid travel to the Old City on Fridays due to the possibility for increased tensions. International events and political developments may also cause protests and demonstrations, which can turn violent.

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 of the risk of military intervention in Gaza and the West Bank.

Landmines
There are live landmines along the Israeli borders with Lebanon and Jordan, and in the Israeli-occupied 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 entering Israel for the purpose of working in the OPTs, you may be refused entry. On 20 October 2022, the Government of Israel introduced new requirements for foreign nationals entering and residing in the West Bank. You can find more information on the requirements and points of contact for enquiries via the Israeli government website.

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. Crossings into and out of Gaza are regularly closed on short notice and for extended periods.

The Rafah border crossing is in the North Sinai Governorate of Egypt where we advise New Zealanders do not travel due to crime and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces. 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 without notice and may remain closed for extended periods of time. 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.  

Crime
Petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing can occur, particularly at public beaches. Theft from parked vehicles also occurs. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings. Always lock your car doors and keep valuables out of sight.

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

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to avoid offending local sensitivities. Observe local standards of behaviour and dress, particularly when visiting Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods.

Photography of government offices, police, the military, military establishments or other buildings and places considered ‘security sensitive’ is prohibited, and could result in detention. If in doubt, don’t take a picture.

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.

New Zealanders in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

For consular assistance:

  • The New Zealand Embassy in Ankara, Türkiye covers Israel.
  • The New Zealand Embassy in Cairo, Egypt covers the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 
  • The New Zealand Honorary Consulate in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Contact details for both Embassies and the Honorary Consulate are provided below.


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 9186 Fax +202 2461 9178 Email enquiries@nzembassy.org.eg Web Site www.nzembassy.com/egypt Hours Sun-Wed 0900-1500 hrs, Thurs 0900-1330 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, Türkiye covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Street Address Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Türkiye Telephone + 90 312 446 3333 Fax +90 312 446 3317 Email newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com Web Site https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/middle-east/turkey/new-zealand-embassy-to-turkey/ Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

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

Street Address 114 Yigal Alon Street, Floor 11 c/o WeWork, Tel-Aviv, Israel Telephone +972 3 695 1869 Email office@nzconsul.org.il

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 9186

Fax: +202 2461 9178

Email: enquiries@nzembassy.org.eg

Website: www.nzembassy.com/egypt

Hours: Sun-Wed 0900-1500 hrs, Thurs 0900-1330 hrs

Covered by New Zealand Embassy Türkiye

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

Telephone: + 90 312 446 3333

Fax: +90 312 446 3317

Email: newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com

Website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/middle-east/turkey/new-zealand-embassy-to-turkey/

Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

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