US warns citizens to be cautious while traveling through Palestinian territories

The US embassy in Jerusalem has warned American citizens in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza to limit their movements following Washington’s decision not to class settlements on occupied Palestinian land as illegal.

“The US Embassy advises US citizens in or considering travel to or through Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness in light of the current environment,” the embassy said in a security alert on Monday.

“Individuals and groups opposed to the secretary of state’s recent announcement may target US government facilities, US private interests, and US citizens. Potential targets include public events, such as demonstrations, holiday events, and celebratory gatherings; hotels, clubs, and restaurants popular with US citizens; places of worship; schools; shopping malls and markets; tourism infrastructure; public transportation and airports,” it explained.

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The US embassy’s alert came shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington will no longer consider the Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories as “illegal”.

“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, the United States had concluded that the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo told reporters earlier.