December 6, 2017
President Trump officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
He made the big announcement during a briefing at the White House Wednesday despite warnings from international leaders that such a move could spark turmoil across the Middle East.
The president also says there are plans in place to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the holy city breaking away from years of precedent.
President Trump says he has instructed the State Department to begin construction on a new embassy, but it will likely take three years to complete the project.
He also announced Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm ties with allies.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem bars American diplomats from leisure travel through the Old City and the West Bank.
This comes as the State Department expects a rise in Islamic unrest after President Trump’s announcement.
The landmark decision comes amid opposition to the expected move of international bureaucrats from the U.N. and E.U. as well as the Palestinian authority and Islamic terrorist group Hamas.
The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem expressed concern over the Islamic street rallies planned for Wednesday in protest of President Trump’s decision.
“We must strengthen the popular movement which is rejecting the US plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” announced the leader of Palestine’s Democratic Front, Talal Abu Zarefa. “It is necessary to express the unity of the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank, the 48 regions and the refugee camps in order to emphasize that Jerusalem is a red line and it’s a capital of the Palestinian state.”
U.S. government employees are allowed to visit the designated areas only if deemed necessary, and not without additional security measures.