The State Department is warning American travelers that violent protests may follow the U.S. decision to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and that they should take extra care in the coming days and weeks.
U.S. government employees and their family members are not permitted to conduct personal travel in Jerusalem's Old City and in the West Bank, to include Bethlehem and Jericho, just as the Holy Land's Chanukah and Christmas travel seasons are set to begin.
The leader of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group, called for a new "intifada," or uprising, as protests broke out in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem following President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Thousands of protesters were reported on the streets of Ankara, Turkey as well.
A security message issued to U.S. citizens from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, said that "official travel by U.S. government employees in Jerusalem's Old City and in the West Bank is permitted only to conduct essential activities and with additional security measures."
The embassy recommended "that U.S. citizens take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance in the Department of State's travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza when making decisions regarding their travel."
In Amman, Jordan, the U.S. embassy warned about "protests, some of which have the potential to become violent. The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the need for caution and awareness of personal security."
While the U.S. Embassy in Amman remains open, it has temporarily suspended routine public services and U.S. government personnel and their family members in Jordan have been asked to limit their public movements.
All embassy travel outside Amman, both official and personal, has been prohibited until further notice. Americans in Jordan are being encouraged to maintain a low profile and to remain alert to developments.
The State Department advised Americans to "review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities. Avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests or demonstrations."
The U.S. Embassy in Amman remains open and ready to assist in the event of an emergency threatening the life or safety of a U.S. citizen. In the event of an emergency, contact the duty officer at +962-6-590-6000.
The State Department advised travelers and others to visit its travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and Country Information; and for any travelers visiting the region in the near future to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to be located in an emergency.