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Israeli Official Takes Issue with Mideast Travel Advisory

June 22, 1990
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An Israeli tourism official said Thursday it was “unjust” for the State Department to issue a blanket warning for American tourists in the Middle East.

Earlier in the day, State Department deputy spokesman Richard Boucher had urged Americans to “exercise extreme caution” while traveling in the Middle East.

Boucher said that it was possible there could be some acts against Americans in retaliation for President Bush’s decision Wednesday to suspend talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“We don’t understand this advisory,” said Raphael Farber, Israel’s tourism commissioner for North America, when reached by telephone in his New York office.

He said there was “no justification” for placing Israel and other countries in “one basket.” He said if there are threats, the State Department should have listed specific countries.

The State Department announcement Thursday was not based on any specific threats, Boucher said, but was an update of a warning the department issued after the May 30 attempted attack on Israel beaches by the Palestine Liberation Front.

“On May 31, the department announced its concern over the rising level of violence in the Middle East,” Boucher said. “We said terrorist groups in the region have threatened publicly to attack American citizens.”

Boucher had no advice on how to go about exercising extra caution.

Some 300,000 Americans visited Israel in 1989, and Farber said that during the first four months of this year, the number of touristsm increased 18 percent over the same period in 1989.

“Americans, in contradiction to the State Department, feel safe in Israel,” Farber said.

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