The US blamed Israel for endangered American citizens in the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria in a travel warning issued Friday.
The United States bluntly told its citizens it is risky to travel to “Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” citing “threats to themselves and the U.S. interests in those locations.”
Although the U.S. trained and equipped the Palestinian Authority’s military police force several years ago – which “resulted in a marked decrease in violence in recent years” – the State Department nevertheless warned that Americans would still not be safe there.
One year ago, PA police gunned down a group of Israelis who were visiting the Tomb of the Prophet Joseph near Shechem, killing one and wounding four others. The tomb, which under the Oslo Accords is supposed to be maintained under Israel’s sovereignty, has been repeatedly vandalized by PA Arabs and its nearby Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva was closed several years ago after it was deemed too dangerous to keep open. The site is at present nearly inaccessible to Jews except when they arrive under heavy guard by the IDF, usually at night when the local Arab population is largely unaware of their presence.
“Demonstrations and violent incidents can occur without warning. Vehicles have also been the target of rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire on West Bank roads,” the warning pointed out – and then blamed IDF searches for terrorists for the violence.
“The IDF continues to carry out security operations in the West Bank,” noted the alert.
“Israeli security operations, including incursions in Palestinian population centers, can occur at any time and lead to disturbances and violence… U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially dangerous situations. Some U.S. citizens involved in demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained serious injuries in confrontations with Israeli security forces.”
The State Department recommended that citizens, for their own safety, avoid demonstrations.
Many of the aforementioned American citizens who participate in such demonstrations enter the country under false pretenses, according to the IDF, and are anarchists supporting violent protests by Palestinian Authority Arab agitators that force the military to respond with riot control measures in order to prevent the crowd from becoming a murderous mob.
Americans also were pointedly told to “avoid all travel” to Gaza, which is “under the control of Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization. American citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately,” the warning stated, adding that travelers there “may not be able to depart at a time of their choosing.”
The security environment in Gaza, which is still officially considered part of the Palestinian Authority, was described in the warning as “dangerous and volatile.”
By Chana Ya’ar