- Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:15 NZDT
- Still current at: 3 April 2020
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There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Terrorities.
Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.
Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.
For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel. IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.
As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.
On 3 January 2020, an Iranian military commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.
The security situation in the Middle East region is unpredictable and may become increasingly volatile.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site www.nzembassy.com/egypt Hours Sun-Weds 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, 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
See our regional advice for the Middle East
Related News features
Covered by New Zealand Embassy Egypt
8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt
Telephone: +202 2461 6000
Fax: +202 2461 6099
Hours: Sun-Weds 0900-1500 hrs, Thurs 0900-1330 hrs
Covered by New Zealand Embassy Turkey
Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Turkey
Telephone: + 90 312 446 3333
Fax: +90 312 446 3317
Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700