Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

TRAVEL ADVISORY

Tourism Curbed in Palestinian Areas

May 28, 2000|EDWARD WRIGHT | Edward Wright is a former assistant foreign editor at The Times. His column appears monthly

Mideast

Israel: Heavy fighting broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinians across the occupied territories earlier this month, and several Palestinians were killed. After the firebombing of an Israeli car in the Palestinian town of Jericho, the Israeli government banned all Israelis and tourists from Palestinian areas. The ban includes Bethlehem, which depends heavily on tourism. Other developments:

* The State Department had already warned of the possibility of terrorism in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. An announcement effective until Aug. 12 says that although there have been no specific threats against Americans, U.S. citizens in the region should be alert to their surroundings; report suspicious packages or unusual activity to the police; and be careful in crowded areas, at bus stops and on public transit.

* Residents of northern Israel moved into shelters last week as a precaution against rockets launched from southern Lebanon. Some civilians drove southward out of range of guerrilla fire.

* On May 10, two British tourists, both men in their 70s, were stabbed near the U.S. Consulate in West Jerusalem, apparently while trying to prevent two Palestinians from seizing the bag of another visitor. One was reported in critical condition, the other slightly wounded.

South Pacific

Fiji: As an attempted overthrow of the government unfolded, the State Department advised Americans to put off traveling to the tourist-popular island country. At press time Wednesday, a nationwide state of emergency was in effect, although disturbances so far had been confined to the main island. Americans in Fiji were urged to stay indoors and monitor news developments.

Tension between the ethnic Fijian majority and the ethnic Indian minority erupted into violence May 19 when gunmen took over the Parliament building in Suva, the capital, and held the prime minister and other officials of the ethnic Indian-led government as hostages. Fijians rioted in downtown Suva after the takeover, looting and torching Indian shops.

Latin America

Guatemala: Tourism officials are expressing concern that two recent killings may deter potential visitors to Guatemala. Late last month, a mob attacked and killed a Japanese tourist and a Guatemalan bus driver after rumors that foreigners were coming to steal children swept the highland village of Todos Santos Cuchumatan. The bus carrying 23 Japanese tourists had stopped at the village market near the Mexican border, where tourists often come to buy Mayan textiles, when someone screamed that the visitors were stealing children. A mob of about 500 gathered, the tourist and the bus driver were beaten to death and the driver's body was set afire. The rumor that foreigners kidnap children to sell them or their body parts has persisted for years in some Indian communities. In 1994, an American journalist was severely beaten by angry peasants in the remote village of San Cristobal Verapaz who thought she was trying to steal a baby.

Worldwide

To students who are going abroad this summer, a message from Washington: Have a good time, but be aware of all the ways you can get into trouble in a foreign country. Every year more than 2,500 Americans are arrested abroad, about half on narcotics charges, the State Department notes. Laws may be confusing because a drug that is legal in one country may be illegal in a neighboring country. Young Americans abroad have been killed in auto accidents, drownings and falls because of heavy drinking or drug use. Others have been raped or robbed when they were not careful in unfamiliar locales.

Africa

Recent developments relating to travelers' security:

South Africa: Two Danish tourists leaving the Sun City resort in a van were killed in a drive-by shooting last month. Mali: The bodies of three Dutch tourists, who apparently were killed by bandits, were found in a remote area of the Sahara in northern Mali in March. The State Department advises Americans to avoid nonessential road travel in the areas around Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu because of bandits. Burkina Faso: Opposition groups are staging strikes in Ouagadougou, the capital, and some have turned violent. Americans are advised to avoid the university area until Aug. 10.

Briefly . . .

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|