The State Department has issued a warning for U.S. citizens traveling anywhere in the world after the Trump administration announced its decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing it as the capital of Israel.
The alert, posted on December 6, is a “worldwide caution” that asks U.S. citizens to be on high-alert when traveling.
“As terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and violence often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling,” it reads. “In addition to concerns stemming from terrorism, travelers should be alert to the possibility of political unrest, violence, demonstrations, and criminal activities when traveling. Country-specific information pages and Travel Warnings should be consulted to obtain the latest data on such threats.”
According to the Associated Press’s longtime diplomatic correspondent, this is the first time such a warning has been released over a policy decision since 2003, when the Iraq War began.
“The last time the @statedept issued a "Worldwide Caution" because of a US policy decision was March 2003 at the start of the Iraq war,” he said on Twitter.
Diplomatic staff in Israel meanwhile have been banned from traveling to the West Bank and Old City over Palestinian riots.
“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,” a December 5 statement reads. “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.”
While the administration is now officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the embassy move will be delayed for “logistical reasons.”