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The U.S. has ordered government staff to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank over fears of protests surrounding President Trump’s decision whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The State Department said in a Tuesday statement that government officials and their families “are not permitted until further notice” to make personal trips to those areas, given “widespread calls for demonstrations” starting Wednesday.
“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,” according to the statement, which was distributed by the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.
Americans were also warned to “avoid areas where crowds have gathered and where there is increased police and/or military presence.”
Trump is expected to announce his decision on moving the U.S. embassy as soon as Wednesday. Multiple reports indicate the president will sign a waiver delaying the move for six months, but announce his intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The move would stop short of fulfilling Trump’s campaign promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, a long-held goal of many Israel advocates.
But the announcement would signal a break with decades of American policy that says the status of Jerusalem should be determined in peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Trump has spoken with several European and Arab leaders who have urged him not to make the move, arguing it would aggravate tensions in the region.