Security Alert: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem (March 9, 2022)
Event: Security Alert
In advance of the upcoming holidays in March and April 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem reminds U.S. citizens of the continued need for caution and increased awareness of personal security as security incidents often take place without any warning. The security environment is complex and can change quickly depending on the political situation and recent events.
In response to security incidents and without advance notice, the U.S. Embassy can restrict or prohibit U.S. government employees and their family members from traveling to certain areas of Jerusalem, to include the Old City. Since May 2021, the Damascus Gate has been off limits for U.S. government employees and their families.
The following standing guidance from our travel.state.gov is repeated here for your information:
The current Travel Advisory and Country Information for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza advise U.S. citizens to be aware of the continuing risks of travel to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza due to the security situation and heightened tensions there, and warns against travel to Gaza.
Jerusalem: Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis have occurred in some parts of Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Violent acts have resulted in death and injury to bystanders, including U.S. citizens. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to exercise caution in the Old City, particularly around the Damascus, Lion’s, and Herod’s gates. Travelers are reminded to exercise caution at Islamic religious sites on Fridays and on holy days, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. Many orthodox Jewish communities in and around Jerusalem restrict vehicle traffic on Shabbat (Friday night to Saturday night). Entering these neighborhoods with a vehicle on Shabbat or with revealing clothing at any time may result in protests and violence. See the Travel Advisory for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza for additional information.
The West Bank: U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank, including to Bethlehem, Jericho, and Hebron, due to the complex security situation there. Violent clashes between security forces, and Israeli and Palestinian residents have resulted in the death and injury of U.S. citizens and others. During periods of unrest, the Government of Israel may restrict access to and within the West Bank, and some areas may be placed under curfew. U.S. government employees are restricted from personal travel in the West Bank except to the cities of Bethlehem and Jericho, and the portions of routes 1, 90, and 443 that traverse the West Bank. Additional limitations may be applied to U.S. government travelers as warranted. See the Travel Advisory for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza for additional information.
Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
- Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
- Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
- Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
Actions to Take:
- Refer to our website for the latest Security and Health Alerts: https://il.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/and https://il.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/.
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings
- Avoid all areas where there is a heavy police presence
- Monitor local media
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Enroll in the Department of Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency.
- Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Advisories (including the Travel Advisory for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza) and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Information for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. For additional information, refer to “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.
Enroll in Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates