October 13. After hundreds of its citizens were killed in a sudden assault from Gaza, Israel has declared war on Hamas.
The conflict is ongoing, and Israel’s prime minister has pledged “mighty violence” and threatened to reduce Gaza to “rubble”.
Israel, long popular with tourists, is still accessible by air – but hundreds of flights have been cancelled and cruise ship itineraries have been changed.
Over the first 24 hours following the start of the attack, many flights were diverted or returned to their departure airport – including a United Airlines flight from San Francisco that went on a 13-hour “flight to nowhere”.
The Foreign Office has strengthened its travel warning to read: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories [OPTs].”
This has the effect of requiring holiday companies with clients in Israel to be brought back as soon as possible, and prevents mainstream tour operators from sending out further groups until the advice against travel is withdrawn.
Anyone who is in Israel continues to be protected by their travel insurance until they leave by the swiftest safe means; conversely, standard travel insurance policies are not valid for people who choose to travel to Israel while the “no-go” warning is in force.