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US bans employees from traveling to Jerusalem al-Quds, West Bank

The US State Department has ordered government employees to avoid Jerusalem al-Quds and the West Bank as protests are anticipated regarding the prospective move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

The department also warned US citizens on Tuesday of traveling through areas with crowds and where there is increased military or police presence.

The measure was prompted after US President Donald Trump told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier about his intention to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds and to declare it as Israel’s “capital.”

In a statement, Abbas, for his part, warned Trump of the dangerous consequences that could result from the decision on the peace process, stability and security in the Middle East.

US President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas are seen in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A senior US administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump would make the landmark announcement at 1 pm (1800 GMT) from the White House on Wednesday.

“He will say that that the United States government recognizes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” the official said. “He views this as a recognition of reality, both historic reality and modern reality.”

This comes as the anticipated decision has sparked warnings and reactions from several world leaders. Turkey, Egypt, France and the EU have voiced their opposition to such a move.

The entire Jerusalem al-Quds is currently under Israel’s control, while the regime also claims the city’s eastern part, which hosts the third holiest Muslim site.

The city has been designated as “occupied” under international law since the 1967 Arab War, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

Since the US Congress ruled in 1995 that the embassy be relocated from Tel Aviv, every president has deferred the troublesome measure by issuing a six-month waiver

People look out at a view of the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, with the Dome of the Rock (C) in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and the Western Wall below on December 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Most of the world does not recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and the city is considered occupied territory.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as the capital.

They are also demanding that Israel withdraw from the Palestinian lands occupied in a 1967 war. The Tel Aviv regime, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

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