WASHINGTON – As of Tuesday, American diplomats may drive on West Bank roads and in Palestinian villages and cities in the territories and on to the Allenby Bridge on the border with Jordan.
This follows an easing off on travel warnings by the U.S. State Department, which on April 7, for the first time since the outbreak of al-Aqsa Intifada, gave a green light to Americans to visit Israel.
Still, the State Department warned Americans about "violent settlers" expected during Israeli disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank.
The updated recommendations did not include free and unrestricted visits and asked travelers to consider the necessity of their trip to Israel.
In addition, Americans are advised against superfluous trips to the West Banks and any visits to Gaza.
Since the murder of three U.S. security guards by Palestinians in Gaza, Americans have been prohibited from entering the Strip.
Western Wall warning
American officials have now been allowed to make official visits to the West Bank. The improved recommendations would allow American diplomats and professionals to travel in the West Bank in the framework of the planned increased American presence, which, among other things, is intended to assist the Palestinian Authority to improve on its capabilities.
The State Departments recommendations mention that the Israeli security forces investigate 40-60 planned terror attacks at each given moment and that groups of settlers may turn to violence during the scheduled Gaza evacuation.
The State Department also warns that it has obtained information regarding possible terror attack attempts on American targets in Israel, namely the embassy in Tel Aviv and the consulate in Jerusalem.
A special warning pertains to public transportation and Jerusalem: Americans are urged not to visit the Western Wall at nighttime and on Friday’s between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., due to Muslim prayer services on the Temple Mount.
U.S. official personnel are permitted to visit West Bank Palestinian villages and travel with their families along the West Bank’s main roads en route to the Allenby Bridge and the Dead Sea area, in accordance with security arrangements.