Tags: Donald Trump | Israel | ML | Trump | Jerusalem

US Warns Citizens Ahead of Jerusalem Move

Image: US Warns Citizens Ahead of Jerusalem Move
(Reuters)

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 02:52 PM

The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has ordered its personnel and their families not to conduct personal travel to Jerusalem's Old City or the West Bank due to fears of unrest over an expected U.S. announcement.

Palestinian groups have threatened widespread protests if President Donald Trump recognizes contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital or advances plans to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Trump is expected to announce his decision Wednesday.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Consulate said U.S. government employees could still travel to the Old City and West Bank for "essential" business, but only with additional security.

The warning also urged American citizens to avoid large crowds or areas with increased police or military presence.

Hamas says relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem "breaks red lines."

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic militant group, said Tuesday that any decision by the Trump administration to recognize the city as Israel's capital would be "igniting the spark of rage against the occupation."

President Donald Trump has informed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he intends to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No timetable was given.

Trump is expected to make an announcement on Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Palestinian factions have called for mass protests against such a move.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, home to sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, in the 1967 war and considers the entire city its capital. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opposes any unilateral action on Jerusalem that could undermine a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday that "we've always regarded Jerusalem as a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations by the two parties based on relevant Security Council resolutions."

Dujarric said the United Nations is waiting to see an official announcement from President Donald Trump on whether he intends to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move Israel strongly supports and the Palestinians vehemently oppose.

Arab and Muslim countries have warned that such an announcement, or a U.S. declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, could harm fragile Mideast peace efforts.

Egypt's President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi is urging the United States not to take measures that could change Jerusalem's status, as the Trump administration considers recognizing the contested city as Israel's capital.

Egypt's presidency says in a statement Tuesday that el-Sissi spoke to Trump by phone about the administration's plans, and urged the U.S. leader to avoid any actions that would undermine Middle East peace efforts.

Germany's foreign minister is warning that any U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be dangerous and could deepen the Middle East conflict.

Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday that "recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not calm a conflict, rather it fuels it even more," and that such a move "would be a very dangerous development."

Gabriel told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels that "it's in everyone's interest that this does not happen."

U.S. officials have said a possible recognition might come this week, prompting mounting Arab and Muslim criticism.

Gabriel said Germany and its European Union partners continue to support a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

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The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has ordered its personnel and their families not to conduct personal travel to Jerusalem's Old City or the West Bank due to fears of unrest over an expected U.S. announcement. Palestinian groups have threatened widespread protests if President...
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2017-52-05
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 02:52 PM
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