The U.S. State Department on Monday issued a travel warning to employees, and to all U.S. citizens, to stay out of Judea and Samaria, if it can at all be helped. Employees of the U.S. government in Israel are, at least for now, banned from traveling to Bethlehem, and official travel to the rest of Judea and Samaria is “limited.”
The reason, according to a security message from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem and distributed to U.S. diplomatic personnel and U.S. citizens on the Consulate’s mailing list, is the ongoing Arab unrest in Judea and Samaria. “Due to demonstrations occurring at locations across the West Bank, the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem has temporarily limited official travel to the West Bank by U.S. Government personnel,” the message says. “In addition, personal travel to Bethlehem by U.S. Government personnel is temporarily suspended.”
Although the message does not directly restrict Americans currently in Israel from visiting Judea and Samaria, “U.S. citizens are advised to defer non-essential travel to and within the West Bank and to exercise an extra measure of caution during this period,” according to the Consulate.
“The U.S. Consulate General takes this opportunity to remind U.S. citizens that demonstrations, even peaceful ones, can turn violent with little or no warning. U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times, and avoid large crowds,” the message adds.