Scrap those plans to re-create the nativity in situ, because the State Department is urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Israel. The move comes after President Trump announced that he was officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move drew condemnation from world leaders (including the Pope) and put the Middle East on edge. Both Israel and Palestine consider the holy city of Jerusalem to be their capital.
In response, the State Department has issued a “worldwide caution,” warning travelers about threat of “terrorist actions, political violence, and criminal activity against U.S. citizens and interests abroad.” While the update did not specially mention Jerusalem or the president’s announcement, earlier in the week the department urged U.S. citizens to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank over fears of protests and violent reaction to the president’s announcement.
In the wake of Trump’s decision, Israelis celebrated while Palestinians accused Trump of destroying any hope of a peace deal. Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called for a new “intifada,” or uprising. Now, protests have broken out across the West Bank, as Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces, protestors burn American flags outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul and Cairo, and Saudi Arabia condemned the move as “unjustified and irresponsible.”