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US State Department issues travel warning for Israel

The US State Department has asked American diplomats and citizens to defer travel to Israel, Jerusalem al-Quds and the West Bank until December 20, over fears of protests surrounding US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the US embassy in Israel.

The Tuesday message says all US government employees and their families “are not permitted until further notice” to travel in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City or the West Bank.

Official travel is being restricted to “essential travel,” which will be taken only “with additional security,” the message states.

The State Department previously issued a travel warning for Israel on April 11, which cautions that “the possibility of random violence continues to exist and can happen without warning.”

On Wednesday, Trump officially declared the disputed city of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital, despite warnings from around the world that the measure risks triggering a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East.

In a speech at the White House, Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, which is expected to take years.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”

The announcement was a major shift by Washington that overturns decades of US foreign policy.

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

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