The recent escalation of hostilities in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank have pushed hopes for peace to the brink. Travel to Israel can, of course, be done safely, but travel to the West Bank and Gaza should be deferred because the atmosphere is so volatile. The U.S. Embassy prohibits government officials from traveling to the West Bank and Gaza and also some districts of Jerusalem. The State Department recommends visits to the Old City of Jerusalem be restricted to daylight hours Saturday through Thursday, avoiding Fridays, the Muslim holy day, when passions often run higher and the risks of confrontation increase.