Wednesday, August 11, 2010
US revises Israel travel warning after complaint
New State Department warning says 'Americans in southern Israel 'should be aware of the risks,' but does not mention Eilat
The US State Department has revised its travel warning for Israel after the Israeli government complained it unfairly singled out an Israeli resort. The department on Tuesday replaced a warning issued just five days ago with a new version that eliminates references to the Red Sea resort of Eilat, where it had advised visiting Americans to learn the location of bomb shelters due to a recent rocket attack.
The new warning says only that Americans in southern Israel "should be aware of the risks and should follow the advice of the Government of Israel's office of Homefront Command." It does not mention Eilat.
Israel's Tourism Ministry complained Monday the previous warning unfairly singled out Eilat for precautionary advice but not Aqaba, which is next door in Jordan. Last week, both cities were hit by rockets that killed one person in Aqaba.
"This advisory gives a prize to terror and undermines regional stability and the sense of security that Israel gives to everyone who enters the country," the ministry said. "Differentiating Israel from its neighbor that actually suffered loss of life is improper and lacks balance."
At the time, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley dismissed the Israeli complaint. He said travel advisories are "based on our best judgment of the assessment of risk wherever American citizens are traveling. So I would say that it's not our judgment that the risk is identical between the two locations."