In anticipation of violent protests erupting over the expected move of the US embassy in Israel, Government employees and their families have been forbidden to travel to Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank.
The US Consulate General in Jerusalem also advised US citizens to be careful if traveling through those areas.
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In a statement on Tuesday, the State Department said that government officials and their families “are not permitted until further notice” to make personal trips to those areas, given “widespread calls for demonstrations” stating on Dec. 6.
Widespread calls for demonstrations beginning Dec. 6 in Jerusalem & the West Bank. US gov’t employees & family restricted from personal travel in Jerusalem’s Old City & in the West Bank. US citizens should avoid crowds and areas with increased police and/or military presence. pic.twitter.com/BZvc9veeyp
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) December 5, 2017
Sputnik news reports: Demonstrations are expected to begin on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump reportedly told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, formally recognizing the ancient city as the capital of Israel.
The Israeli government has declared the entirety of Jerusalem the “single and indivisible” capital of Israel, a move not recognized by any other state. Getting the US to support their edict has long been seen as the “white whale” of Israeli politics.
The Western Wall in Jerusalem is the holiest site in all of Judaism, but the city is also host to the third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque. East Jerusalem, which hosts the Old City, the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was occupied by Israel in 1967 and effectively annexed in 1980. Palestine also considers Jerusalem to be their capital, but the city is under the de facto control of the Jewish State.
Every six months, the US President is given a waiver to delay the move of the embassy, as per a 1995 law. Every six months, the US President has delayed the move, citing the damage the move would do to the Israel-Palestine peace process.
Trump himself signed such a waiver in June. The Abbas spokesman who broke the story did not say when Trump would initiate the move.
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