The US State Department sent warnings to its embassies around the world to increase security ahead of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that the US will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to Politico.
The online news website reported on Monday that two classified cables had been sent to State Department officials in the past week, amid concerns the announcement would provoke demonstrations.
Meanwhile, the American Consulate General in Jerusalem tweeted a message on Wednesday banning government officials and their employees from all personal travel to Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank until further notice.
Travel to these areas “is permitted only to conduct essential travel and with additional security measures”.
US citizens have also been advised to avoid crowds and areas with an increased security presence when travelling in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Security 🚨 Message for US 🇺🇸 Citizens ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/NCXhVK7daD
— US Palestinian Affairs Unit (@USPalAffairs) December 5, 2017
Such a move would upset decades of US policy and has drawn condemnation from world leaders who fear the decision would hinder the peace process.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas noted “dangerous consequences” for the region and threatened to cut diplomatic ties with the US.
French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump by telephone that Jerusalem’s status must be decided in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel considers the city its “united” capital, following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan.The status of the city is an extremely sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The US Congress passed legislation in 1995 to move the embassy by 1999, but a provision in the law allowed the president to sign a waiver every six months, in the interests of national security.
Every president since 1998 has done so, including Trump in June. But Trump failed to sign this waiver on Monday.
The Republican president is expected to reveal his decision on Jerusalem’s status in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington on Wednesday.