Potentially violent demonstrations are already taking place following Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Travellers will face disruption and the risk of violence, especially over the coming days.
Demonstrations have already taken place in Ankara, Istanbul, Amman, Beirut and the Palestinian territories. While they have so far been largely peaceful (if a little threatening) they could nonetheless escalate at short notice.
Activists are calling for a ‘day of rage’ on Friday [revision – calls have now been made for ‘three days of rage’ covering Friday, Saturday and Sunday], which could likely see larger crowds and an escalation in both rhetoric and associated violence.
Likely flashpoints will include US embassies, consulates and other representative interests, which could include company offices, restaurants, retail outlets or other venues seen as emblematic of American interests. Anger could be directed against individuals being suspected of links to the US or Israel, which could include tourists and even nationals from other countries (through mistaken identity).
Travellers, particularly westerners and especially US citizens are advised to exercise caution and maintain a low profile. Avoid potential flashpoint areas and consider rescheduling trips, consular visits, outings or other public engagements so as to minimise the risk of being targeted.
Hamas has also called for a new uprising against Israeli interests, which could result in a rise in attempted terrorist attacks and rocket launches against Israel. Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip normally affect southern parts of Israel but terrorist attacks could take place in more urban, crowded areas further north, or even potentially target Israeli or Jewish interests elsewhere in the world.
Israeli security measures are likely to be raised in light of the increased threat, which could also have an impact on travel plans. Be prepared for possible border crossing closures into the West Bank, as well as long delays both at these points as well as at airport security flying to or from Israel.
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