On Wednesday afternoon, President Trump will announce formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin the process of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This has been met with widespread concern from other nations and the promise of a ‘day of rage’ by Palestinian groups.

There are serious concerns that this tension could escalate into violence. There is also a possibility that American institutions, companies and individuals will be targeted in other countries. US Government employees and their families have been banned from travel in Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank. If you or a client are visiting or working in a country that has a history of anti-American sentiment, please review and act on safety considerations as soon as possible.

We have put together a summary of the news to date, as well as travel warnings and advisories.

Moves on an embassy move 

The Trump White House has been trailing the possibility of relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for several months, prompting warnings from leaders around the world.

Voice of America explains –

Under U.S. law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the U.S. must relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem unless the president waives the requirement on national security grounds, something required every six months. If the waiver isn’t signed and the embassy doesn’t move, the State Department would lose half its funding for its facilities and their security around the world.

President Trump signed his first waiver earlier this summer. The next waiver signing was due on Monday, but the White House announced a decision had not been reached and it did not happen. Over the weekend his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has been tasked with creating a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, said the President was undecided on what would happen next.

Dismay and concern

Also over the weekend, leaders from France, the EU, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan warned against moving the embassy.

Recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was reportedly resisted from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau – according to Reuters, “senior (officials) in NEA and a number of ambassadors from the region expressed their deep concern about doing this.”

Pope Francis said he was “profoundly concerned” and President Erdogan says President Trump has crossed a red line. This piece from the AP is keeping track of responses from other politicians around the world, including the UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and some senior Russian officials.


Travel warnings

From the US Embassy in Tel Aviv (5th December 2017) –

With widespread calls for demonstrations beginning December 6 in Jerusalem and the West Bank, U.S. government employees and their family members are not permitted until further notice to conduct personal travel in Jerusalem’s Old City and in the West Bank, to include Bethlehem and Jericho. Official travel by U.S. government employees in Jerusalem’s Old City and in the West Bank is permitted only to conduct essential travel and with additional security measures. United States citizens should avoid areas where crowds have gathered and where there is increased police and/or military presence. We recommend that U.S. citizens take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza when making decisions regarding their travel.

Please click here to read more.

From the FCO

Palestinian factions have called for three ‘days of rage’ in the West Bank from 6 to 8 December 2017 in anticipation of a major US announcement on the status of Jerusalem. Protests and demonstrations are expected to take place across the West Bank, including at checkpoints. You should avoid any demonstrations, follow the instructions of the local police authorities and keep up to date with our travel advice.

Please click here to read more.


Travel advisories


Sources: 

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