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Gaza Strip

The State of Israel is a parliamentary democracy with a modern economy.  Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem as a result of the 1967 War.  Pursuant to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 1994.  Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 and exercises control there.  The division of responsibilities and jurisdiction in the West Bank between Israel and the PA is complex and subject to change.  Palestinian Authority security forces are responsible for keeping order in certain areas, and the PA exercises a range of civil functions in those areas of the West Bank.  Definitive information on entry, customs requirements, arrests, and other matters in the West Bank and Gaza is subject to change without prior notice or may not be available.  Tourist facilities are widely available.  Travelers may visit the web site of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism for tourist information.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Israel for additional information.

Gaza Strip

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Gaza Strip
Continent: Middle East
Capital City:
Boundary Countries: Egypt, Israel
Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities:
Country Size: 360 sq km
Population: 1,551,859

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)

Currency:
Predominant Religions:

Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 99.3%, Christian 0.7%

National Holidays:
Economic Status:
High population density, limited land access, and strict internal and external security controls have kept economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - the smaller of the two areas under the Palestinian Authority (PA) - even more degraded than in the West Bank. The beginning of the second intifada in September 2000 sparked an economic downturn, largely the result of Israeli closure policies; these policies, which were imposed to address security concerns in Israel, disrupted labor and trade access to and from the Gaza Strip. In 2001, and even more severely in 2003, Israeli military measures in PA areas resulted in the destruction of capital, the disruption of administrative structures, and widespread business closures. The Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in September 2005 offered some medium-term opportunities for economic growth, but Israeli-imposed crossings closures, which became more restrictive after HAMAS violently took over the territory in June 2007, have resulted in widespread private sector layoffs and shortages of most goods. The status of the crossings, which are closed to all but the most basic goods, has not changed following Israel's military offensive into the Gaza Strip in early 2009.
Security:

Palestinian Authority security forces have operated only in the West Bank, not in the Gaza Strip, since Hamas seized power in June 2007; law and order and other security functions are performed by Hamas security organizations

US Presence:

Americans living or traveling in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the Consulate General in Jerusalem through the State Department’s travel registration web site, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Israel, the West Bank or Gaza.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate General to contact them in case of emergency. 

The U.S. Embassy is located at 71 Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv.  The U.S. mailing address is Unit 7228, Box 0001, APO AE 09830.  The telephone number is (972) (3) 519-7575.  The emergency number after 4:30 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. local time is (972) (3) 519-7551.  The fax number is (972) (3) 516-4390.  The Embassy can be contacted by email

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy should be contacted for information and assistance in the following areas:  Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is located at 27 Nablus Road in Jerusalem.  The U.S. mailing address is Unit 7228, Box 0039, APO AE 09830.  The telephone number is (972) (2) 622-7200.  The Consular Section's public telephone number for information and assistance is (972) (2) 628-7137, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Messages may be left at that number at other times.  For after-hours emergencies directly involving an American citizen (after 4:30 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. local time,) calls should be directed to (972) (2) 622-7250.  The Consular Section's fax number is (972) (2) 627-2233.  You may contact the Consulate by e-mail.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General should be contacted for information and assistance in the following areas:  Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Allenby crossing connecting the West Bank and Jordan, and the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
A U.S. Consular Agent who reports to the Embassy in Tel Aviv maintains an office in Haifa at 26 Ben Gurion Boulevard, telephone (972) (4) 853-1470.  The Consular Agent can provide both routine and emergency services in the northern part of Israel.

Document Requirements:

Please visit http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1064.html for complete details.

Entering the Gaza Strip: The Department of State urges US citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a terrorist organization. American citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately. The US government does not permit its personnel to enter the Gaza Strip, making it difficult for Americans in the Gaza Strip to receive consular assistance. Please contact the US Consulate General in Jerusalem for additional assistance if necessary. See the latest Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for the latest information concerning travel to the Gaza Strip.  Private vehicles may not cross from Israel into Gaza or from Gaza into Israel. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt is generally closed and the Gaza Airport is no longer operating.

Major Airports:

Airports- 1, Airports with paved runway- 1

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

January 15, 2009

This Travel Warning updates U.S. citizens on the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to U.S. interests in those locations.  The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to remain mindful of security factors when planning travel to Israel and the West Bank.  In addition, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip.  This warning replaces the Travel Warning issued September 26, 2008 to update information on the general security environment in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

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The Gaza Strip and Southern Israel
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The State Department strongly urges that American citizens refrain from all travel to the Gaza Strip.  This recommendation has been in effect since the deadly roadside bombing of a U.S. Embassy convoy in Gaza in October 2003.  It applies to all Americans, including journalists and aid workers.  American citizens should be aware that as a consequence of a longstanding prohibition on travel by U.S. Government employees into the Gaza Strip, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens there is extremely limited.
 
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been engaged in a military operation, "Operation Cast Lead," in the Gaza Strip.  This operation began on December 27, 2008, with aerial and naval strikes and expanded on January 3, 2009, to include ground operations.  The IDF strictly controls travel within the area of the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and has essentially sealed the border.  The security environment within Gaza and along its borders, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and can change at any time.   

Since the December 19, 2008, expiration of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, a State Department designated foreign terrorist organization, Hamas has launched ongoing rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into southern Israel.  Some rockets have travelled more than 40 km and landed as far north as Yavne and Gadera and as far east as Beersheva.  As a result of IDF military operations in Gaza and the high-volume of rocket and mortar attacks into Israel from Gaza, U.S. Government personnel have been restricted from traveling within 30 km of the Gaza Strip.  For U.S. Government employees to travel inside the 30 KM radius, approval is required from the Embassy's Regional Security Office. 

The Government of Israel's Home Front Command has ordered residents of all communities within 40 kilometers of the Gaza Strip, including Beersheva, Yavne, and Gadera, to take precautions against rocket attacks.  Schools and public facilities may be closed and the provision of some public services scaled back in areas considered to be within rocket range.  American citizens within rocket range should take appropriate precautions and security measures, which may include remaining within a certain distance of a sheltered space and staying in that space for five minutes after a rocket alert sounds.  Specific guidance in English is available at the Home Front Command Web site:  http://www.oref.org.il/934-en/PAKAR.aspx.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant Mortality Rate:  TOTAL 18.35 deaths/ 1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:  TOTAL: 73.42 years (male 71.82/ female 75.12)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None
Recommended:  Hepatitis A & B
Boosters:  MMR, DPT

Infectious Disease Concerns:

West Nile virus occurs in Israel and neighboring countries in the region.  Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent these diseases.
Israel reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in poultry in 2006.  Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds, and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept.  For a current list of countries reporting outbreaks of H5N1 among poultry and/or wild birds, view updates from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and for total numbers of confirmed human cases of H5N1 virus by country see the World Health Organization (WHO) Avian Influenza website.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Modern medical care and medicines are available in Israel.  Some hospitals in Israel and most hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, however, fall below U.S. standards.  Visitors are required to have health insurance.  Travelers can find information in English about emergency medical facilities and after-hours pharmacies in the "Jerusalem Post" and the English language edition of "Ha'aretz" newspapers.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 0
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Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Israel has numerous confirmed cases of Influenza A(H1N1), but the Gaza Strip has not separately reported any cases. For an up-to-date list, please visit http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_07_06/en/index.html.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +
Internet Country Code:  .ps (same as West Bank)

 



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