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I'm planning my second trip to Israel (being there Sep/2011), to visit my girlfriend's relatives again in February 2013 and stay a month there. This time we are planning to go with four people and we already bought all the plane tickets.

With the recent news coming from Israel and Iran about the suspected Iranian nuclear plans, if Israel attack Iran, probably they're going to start a war. What happens with tourism/borders in this case? Even being not so safe to travel, is it still possible? Would the airlines refund me in full?

EDIT from mod: To clarify, anyone answering this question should not be speculating on whether Israel/Iran will go to war. The question is how it would affect the traveller.

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First thing you need to do is ask your foreign office what their procedures are for repatriation of citizens caught up in conflict zones. Second of all check your travel insurance policy. Mine states if I enter a war zone I'm not covered. If it becomes one while I'm there then they will cover the cost of my immediate exit. They will also cover any losses if my destination becomes a war zone before my planned departure. –  Stuart Aug 21 '12 at 19:20
    
Pro tip: repatriation is not free, you're charged for your slice of the chartered plane and that's not cheap at all. Change your return flight instead. (Won't be easy, of course, since there will be a lot of people leaving, but neither will getting on that chartered flight.) –  jpatokal Aug 22 '12 at 1:28
    
I faced this dilemma when I had to commit several months in advance (vs. financial penalty) to travel there last month. I couldn't find a travel-insurance company that covered that, so I ended up just taking a chance. –  Monica Cellio Aug 23 '12 at 22:28
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1 Answer

Re the borders, Jordanian border is the quietest one (taking the honor from the Egyptian & Syrian borders, which now have some potential for danger given the instability there). During the war of 2006 in Israel, land borders with Jordan and Egypt were open and unaffected. Land borders with Syria and Lebanon are only open for the UN personnel and Syrian citizens living in Israel anyway.

Usually, governments take action to evacuate their citizens from hot spots. This happened numerous times before (for example, recently French and Italians evacuated EU citizens from Libya, French evacuated westerners from Syria, Americans and Brits evacuated from Lebanon in 2006,etc etc).

Re refunds, you should read your travel insurance terms, but wars are usually not covered, acts of terror are. So it depends, in an event of an unfortunate occasion, how it is going to be classified. If your travel insurance covers war and hostilities - then you're good to go in any case. My business travel insurance, for example, does (similarly to the terms @Stuart has mentioned in the comment).

I personally have been to Israel numerous times, including during the first Gulf War when they were rocketed by Saddam Hussein every evening. This is something the Israelis are long ago used to, so you might be shocked by the fact that there might be a war 30 miles away, and people are having coffee on the streets living their life as usual.


By the popular request, removed the speculation, but here it is for those who are still interested in my biased and unsolicited opinion:

I doubt anyone will attack anyone any time soon, Israel doesn't usually talk when it wants to shoot. What can happen is an event style 2006, when a pro-Iranian militia attacked Israel from Lebanon and caused a small war. It can be from any of the Israeli borders, but specifically in relation to Iran, it will probably happen from Lebanon or Gaza.

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+1. Probably not worth speculating on whether or not they'll go to war, that's not what the question is, he wants to know how it'd affect his travel. Agree about the insurance terms though. Great anecdote at the end! –  Mark Mayo Aug 21 '12 at 20:12
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The Iraqi's didn't shell Israel that would be geographically impossible without invading Jordan or Syria. I think you're referring to the approx 42 scud missiles fired by Iraq at Israel? (according to Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War#Iraq_launches_missile_strikes) –  Stuart Aug 21 '12 at 20:20
    
Yeah, that. Wrong word, not shelled, rocketed. –  littleadv Aug 21 '12 at 20:21
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