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BORDER CLOSURES AND POSSIBLE EVACUATION ROUTES OUT OF ISRAEL UPDATE

(The Situation Update Report [SUR] is a near real-time brief of a possible threat or situation being monitored by The Counter Threat Center. The information is accurate at the time of reporting, but may be subject to change.)


Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg, Gabriel Helupka, Magdalena Breyer, Dan Flanagan, Nicholas Novak, Wissal Mabrouk, Ludovica Leccese

Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor

October 11, 2023


Map of Israel’s Border Crossings (blue) and the Ben Gurion International Airport (red)[1]


Current Situation: The following list provides information about possible transportation pathways in and out of Israel. This information is valid for tomorrow and onwards until further notice.


Airports/Flights:

  • Ben-Gurion International Airport continues to operate as usual, but international airlines have started canceling all flights to and from Israel, and delays might occur.[2] Civilians can check the status and availability of flights for Ben-Gurion International Airport here.[3] Social media videos show large crowds and long lines at the airport.[4] The Israeli Transportation Ministry and the Israeli Airport Authority are working to implement an emergency plan for Israeli citizens stranded abroad due to the cancellation of flights.[5] The Ben-Gurion International Airport continues to face threats from Hamas. The Al-Qassam Brigades on Telegram claimed they hit the airport with a missile barrage on October 11 due to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) targeting civilians.[6]

  • Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan continues to operate normally.[7]


Border crossings:

  • The borders can be crossed both on foot and by vehicles. The passage of rental cars and taxis is forbidden. Foreign nationalities generally require visas for entrance into Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, with some exceptions based on nationalities.

  • Jordan: 140 nationalities are able to receive tourism visas upon arrival at Sheikh Hussein Bridge (Jordan River Border) and Queen Alia Airport, or apply for an expedited e-visa online.[8] The only requirement for these nationalities is that passports are valid for at least six months. Restricted nationalities are required to apply for visas through a Jordan Embassy in their home country.[9] The Jordanian Ministry of Interior provides a list of restricted and non-restricted countries.[10]

  • Syria: A limited number of nationalities are either visa-exempt or can obtain a visa upon arrival in Syria, requiring only that their passports are valid for six months.[11] All other nationalities are required to obtain visas at a Syrian Embassy/Consulate in their home countries.

  • Egypt: 79 nationalities are eligible for the E-visa and obtaining visas upon arrival.[12] E-visa processing takes an average of 1-3 days.[13] For these nationalities, only a passport valid for six months after the date of arrival is required. Eight nationalities are able to enter Egypt without a visa.[14] All other nationalities are required to obtain a visa from the Egyptian Embassy/Consulate in their home country.

  • Lebanon: 6 nationalities are able to enter Lebanon without a visa.[15] One hundred nationalities are eligible for a one-month visa on arrival, requiring only their passport, a return flight, a phone number, and proof of accommodation. Most other nationalities are required to obtain a visa from the Lebanese Embassy/Consulate in their home country.[16] Israeli citizens are not able to obtain a visa.

  • Crossings to Jordan:

  • Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein Bridge: Open for passengers but with updated opening hours. Opens at 0830 and closes at 1830 local time (accepting passengers until 1700 local time). It can be reached through car or bus.[17]

  • Allenby/King Hussein Bridge: Open for passengers but with updated operating hours[18]:

  • 10/12/2023: Terminal operates between 0800-1630 local time

  • 10/13/2023: Terminal open to Palestianians only between 0800-1530 local time

  • 10/14/2023: Terminal will be closed.

  • 10/15/2023: Terminal operates between 0800-1630 local time.

  • Arrival of tourists to the terminal can happen up to three hours before closing. Diplomats are allowed to arrive up to one and a half hours before closing.[19]

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)’s human intelligence (HUMINT) sources indicate reports of long lines and increased security at the King Hussein Bridge crossing.[20]

  • Yitzhak Rabin/Wadi Araba Crossing: Open for passengers and operating as normal. Open Sunday to Thursday between 0630 to 2000 local time, and Friday to Saturday between 0800 and 2000 local time. Vehicle crossings are open every day until 1900 local time. The crossing is available by car from Eilat or the Arava Road via Highway 90 direction Rabin Terminal. There is no public transport available by the crossing.[21]

  • Crossings to Egypt:

  • Menachim Begin/Taba Border Crossing: Open for passengers but with updated opening hours. Opens at 0800 and closes at 2000 local time. It can be reached by car or bus from Eliat.[22]

  • Crossings to Syria:

  • Quneitra Crossing: The crossing point is open periodically as needed and in cooperation with the IDF. The crossing is typically intended for “UN personnel, students, clerics, and other populations belonging to the Druze community.”[23] It is unlikely that foreign nationals will be able to evacuate through this route without agreement from the UN, the Israeli government, and the Syrian government.

  • Crossings to Lebanon:

  • Rosh Hanikra crossing point: The crossing point is operational from Sunday to Friday between 700 - 0000 local time. The crossing is not for the public but primarily for UN forces and particular populations.[24] It is unlikely that foreign nationals will be able to evacuate through this route without agreement from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the Lebanese government, and the IDF.


Trains/buses:

  • Several train stations across Israel have been closed due to the security situation and lack of personnel. Alternative bus services are operating at some train stations, where the bus will depart one time every hour. Operating train lines are also departing with one train every hour in each direction. To get information on departure times of buses and trains, contact the service center by calling *5770 or WhatsApp 052327357.[25] Many transportation employees for these sectors are allegedly being recruited into the reserves for war efforts, limiting manpower.[26]

  • Completely closed train stations:[27]

  • Bat Yam Kommiam

  • Fati Modi'in

  • Holon Intersection

  • Hod Sharon Sokolov

  • Kfar Chabad

  • Kiryat Gat

  • Kiryat Haim

  • Kiryat Malachi Yoav

  • Lod Gani Aviv

  • Mezkeret Batia

  • Ra'anana South

  • Yavne Mizrah

  • Israel Railways Journey Planner indicates the following stations are also closed:[28]

  • Bat Yam - HaKomemiyut

  • Holon Junction

  • Jerusalem (Malh)

  • Jerusalem (Biblical Zoo)

  • Mazkeret Batya

  • Netivot

  • Ofakim

  • Pa'ate Modi'in

  • Rishon LeTsiyon - HaRishonim

  • Sderot

  • Yavne - East

  • Closed Israeli train stations with alternative bus services:[29]

  • Afula

  • Ahihud

  • Beit Shean

  • Beit Shemesh

  • Dimona

  • Karmiel

  • Kfar Baruch

  • Kfar Yehoshua

  • Ramla

  • Rishon Lezion Rishonim

  • The alternative bus service can be found here.

  • Open Israeli train stations:[30]

  • Tel Aviv train stations are open.[31]

  • Jerusalem-Yitzhak Navon railway station is open.[32]

  • Ashkelon

  • Be'er Ya'akov

  • Beer Sheva - Center

  • Beer Sheva - North - University

  • Beit Yehoshua

  • Bnei Brak

  • Benjamin

  • Bat Yam - Yoseftal

  • Herzliya, Hadera - West

  • Holon - Wolfson

  • Across the gulf

  • Haifa - Bat Galim

  • Haifa - Carmel Beach

  • Haifa - Center of the eight

  • Yavne - West

  • Kfar Saba - Nordau

  • Blades - furniture

  • Jerusalem - Yitzhak Navon

  • Kfar Sava - Nordau

  • Kiryat Motzkin

  • Lehavim - Rahat

  • Lod, Modi'in Center

  • Nahariya, Netanya

  • Netanya - Sapir

  • Petah Tikva - Kiryat Arye

  • Petah Tikva - Sgulla

  • Ra'anana - West

  • Rishon LeTsiyon - Moshe Dayan

  • Rosh HaAyin - North

  • Tel Aviv - HaHagana

  • Tel Aviv - HaShalom

  • Tel Aviv - Savidor Center

  • Tel Aviv - University


Day/Time of event: October 11, 2023


What is the current threat:

  • Israel's current transportation situation very likely presents a heightened security threat. Hamas will likely capitalize on the traffic of Israeli civilians and foreign nationals departing Israel, likely launching rocket attacks near major transportation hubs to cause disruptions. The group will likely utilize this disruption tactic in an attempt to deter Western countries from sending civilian evacuation flights.

  • An increased security presence will likely occur at border crossings, particularly those subject to updated opening hours. Thorough checks and screenings will likely cause additional delays for travelers seeking to depart from Israel, likely resulting in larger crowds and the outbreak of fights and hostilities as tensions rise.

  • Hezbollah will very likely intimidate foreigners traveling to Lebanon, likely increasing border crossing checks and entry restrictions. These tactics will very likely involve violent targeting of citizens from countries perceived as adversarial or supportive of the Israeli state, such as the US. It is almost certain that Israeli nationals will be unable to enter Lebanon safely through its southern border due to visa restrictions and Hezbollah’s presence.

  • There is a roughly even chance that Israel’s neighbors will close their borders as the conflict continues to escalate. An Israeli ground operation will almost certainly lead to the closure of land crossings and airports due to concerns about the potential spread of violence into their country. Neighboring countries will likely restrict the entry of certain nationalities across the border, with Egypt and Syria likely to join Lebanon in denying entry to Israeli nationals.


Who will it directly impact:

  • Israeli civilians

  • Foreigners residing in Israel

  • Foreign tourists visiting Israel

  • Journalists in Israel

  • Jordanian civilians

  • Egyptian civilians

  • Syrian civilians

 

[1] Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg via Google Maps

[3] Ben-Gurion International Airport, Israel Airport Authority, https://www.iaa.gov.il/en/airports/ben-gurion/flight-board/?flightType=departures

[4] CTG Threat Hunter via X

[5] Transport.il on X, via CyberHUMINT

[6] CTG Threat Hunter via Telegram

[7] Queen Alia International Airport, Queen Alia International Airport, https://qaiairport.com/en/Pages/default.aspx

[8] Visa and Border Crossings, Jordan Pass Official Website, https://jordanpass.jo/Contents/FAQs.aspx

[9] Ibid

[10] Restricted and Non Restricted Countries (Nationalities), Ministry of Interior of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, https://moi.gov.jo/EN/Pages/Restricted_and_Non_Restricted_Countries_Nationalities

[11] Visa and entry conditions in Syria, Damascus International Airport, https://www.damascus-airport.com/en/visa_on_arrival_syria.php

[12] Egypt Visa Requirements, Egypt E-Visa, https://www.visasegypt.com/visa-application

[13] Ibid

[14] What type of visa do I need to travel to Egypt?, Egypt E-Visa, https://www.visasegypt.com/faq/egypt-visa-types

[15] The list of countries that have the right to a Lebanese visa, General Directorate of General Security, https://www.general-security.gov.lb/en/posts/38

[16] Ibid

[17] Updating the hours of operation at the Jordan river border crossing, Israel Airport Authority, October 2023, https://www.iaa.gov.il/land-border-crossings/jordan-river/notifications-and-updates/ (Translated by Google)

[19] Ibid

[20] HUMINT Source, King Hussein Bridge, October 8, 2023

[21] Yitzhak Rabin - About, Israel Airport Authority, October 2023, https://www.iaa.gov.il/land-border-crossings/yitzhak-rabin/about/ (Translated by Google)

[22] Updated hours of operation at the Begin terminal, Israel Airport Authority, October 2023, https://www.iaa.gov.il/land-border-crossings/menachem-begin/notifications-and-updates/ (Translated by Google)

[24] Ibid

[25] Updates and changes in train traffic, as of Wednesday, 11.10.23 until further notice, Israel Railways, October 2023, https://www.rail.co.il/?page=special-update-081023 (Translated by Google)

[26] CTG Threat Hunter via Facebook

[27] Updates and changes in train traffic, as of Wednesday, 11.10.23 until further notice, Israel Railways, October 2023, https://www.rail.co.il/?page=special-update-081023 (Translated by Google)

[29] Updates and changes in train traffic, as of Wednesday, 11.10.23 until further notice, Israel Railways, October 2023, https://www.rail.co.il/?page=special-update-081023 (Translated by Google)

[31] Ibid

[32] Ibid

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