Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

  • Reviewed: 31 October 2018, 15:30 NZDT
  • Still current at: 19 November 2018

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.

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 500 metres of the border with Lebanon (the “Blue Line”) due to the risk of rocket fire, militant activity and military operations.

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.

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Israel’s border with Gaza due to civil unrest, the risk of rocket fire and military operations.

Avoid non-essential travel to the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah) due to the unpredictable security situation and the potential for violent civil unrest. 

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah due to the threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest.

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Israel due to the threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest. 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. 

View Larger Map Close/Open map

Gaza
The security situation in Gaza is unpredictable. We advise that New Zealanders do not travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza), and we advise New Zealanders currently in Gaza to depart. 

Since March 2018 there have been mass protests on the Gazan side of the Gaza/Israel perimeter fence, which have resulted in military activity and casualties. These protests may continue for some time. There is a risk of increased tension at checkpoints in and around the West Bank and Gaza during this period.

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.

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
We advise against non-essential travel to the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah, where we advise exercising increased caution). 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 18 March 2018, an Israeli security guard was stabbed and killed in the Old City of Jerusalem. Israeli police fatally shot the attacker. On 21 July 2018, three Israelis were killed in the Halamish settlement in the West Bank. On 14 July 2017, two Israeli police officers were fatally shot during an attack at Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount.

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 and other artillery fire into Israel. 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.

Civil unrest
There is a high threat of civil unrest in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the security situation could deteriorate without warning. Throughout the region there have been numerous violent clashes between protesters 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.

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 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 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 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. 

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.

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, Turkey covers Israel.
  • The New Zealand Embassy in Cairo, Egypt covers the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 

Contact details for both Embassies 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 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 28 Ha'arba'a St. North Tower, 23rd Floor, Tel Aviv 6473925 Israel Telephone +972 3 695 1869 Fax +972 3 695 0817 Email nz.honconil@gmail.com

See our regional advice for the Middle East

Share this page:

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

Related advice from other countries

Share this page:

Other pages in this section: