Palestinian PM appeals for Britain travel advice change


LONDON — Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad on Monday appealed for Britain to change its travel advice regarding the West Bank, citing improved security and increasing numbers of tourists.

Addressing a Palestinian investment conference in London, Fayyad said he hoped Britain would give consideration to lifting that warning completely, noting that 1.5 million tourists were expected to visit Bethlehem this year.

He said he hoped for “consideration (by the British government) of lifting that warning completely.”

“There are UK nationals that are (visiting) places like Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, but not to places like Jenin, for example, where (Middle East Quartet envoy) Tony Blair and I had the pleasure of being there a few weeks ago for a big function,” Fayyad said.

“I think it’s time to have the travel warning considered by the government.”

Britain’s Foreign Office, which lists advice for tourists travelling abroad, recommends that British nationals avoid “all but essential travel… to all areas of the West Bank (except for Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and the Jordan Valley).”

It also advises against all travel to the Gaza Strip and within five kilometres (3.1 miles) of the Gaza perimeter.