White House 311.
(photo credit: courtesy)
WASHINGTON – The US State Department is cautioning American citizens not
participate in future attempts to infiltrate Gaza by sea as part of a
warning released late Sunday night.
“US citizens are advised against
traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to
enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and
resulted in the
injury, death, arrest and deportation of US citizens,” the warning
Gaza still off limits to dignitaries
German minister denied entry to Gaza
The new travel advisory comes after Israel requested that
countries issue such directives to discourage further attempts to break the Gaza
blockade, following a May raid in which IDF commandos killed nine passengers,
one a Turkish-American, on a ship that refused to be inspected in
On that ship as well as the five others in the same flotilla,
many Americans were arrested and deported, with several sustaining
degrees of injury.
The Foreign Ministry earlier welcomed a
warning issued by Britain last week, saying that such statements were
significant because they made it clear that these governments view the
to break the blockade negatively, and hint that those who do take part
flotillas anyway should not later come to their home governments looking
The US travel warning noted that American diplomats’
access to Gaza meant that “the ability of consular staff to offer timely
assistance to US citizens there is extremely limited.”
recommended more generally that US citizens not travel to Gaza or the
neighboring Israeli towns hit by rockets attacks; be cautious in
particularly on holy days and near public spaces targeted by terrorists;
aware that Israel routinely imposes closures on the West Bank and can
make it difficult for Americans to travel in the area.
came out hours before Defense Minister Ehud Barak landed in Washington
meeting with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Monday, in which the
raid featured prominently.
Other top agenda items included
broader policy toward Gaza, the American-brokered indirect talks between
Israelis and Palestinians, and Iran.
The last issue was
informed by the new round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security
Teheran’s refusal to accede to international demands that it halt the
Israel has supported the US effort on sanctions, but
has warned Gates that there should be a time limit in which the
be allowed to work.
Barak is expected to press the issue when he
later in the week with members of Congress who are involved in drafting
He is in the United States to participate
conference of the Socialist International, a global organization of
democratic, socialist and labor parties, in New York later Monday and on
Tuesday. He was due to meet UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon shortly
press time Monday.
He will return to Washington on Wednesday for
further days of meetings with Obama administration officials, including
White House aides and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.