Israel, West Bank & Gaza

This item appears on page 18 of the December 2008 issue.

Although a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect June 19, 2008, the Gaza Strip continues to be a potential center of violence between Israeli security forces and Palestinian terrorist groups.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad still occasionally launch rockets against Israeli towns as far north as Ashkelon. The Israeli Defense Forces retain the option of responding to these attacks with military force. In addition, Hamas uses violence against other Palestinian factions in Gaza. Gunfire from Gaza into Israel is a danger, so travel in the surrounding area is strongly discouraged.

In the West Bank, violent demonstrations, kidnappings and shootings can occur without warning. Frequent Israeli security operations to arrest terrorist suspects can occur at any time and result in shootings, demonstrations and violent conflict.