US urges citizens to ‘exercise caution’ in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem issued a security message to American citizens warning them to avoid visiting the city on Sunday, marked in Israel as Jerusalem Day.

The warning issued over the weekend also extended to the monthlong Muslim observance of Ramadan, set to begin on Monday.

“Consulate General employees and family members are encouraged to exercise caution when traveling throughout Jerusalem, especially the Old City, on Sunday, June 5,” the security message reads.

The message describes Jerusalem Day as “(A) Government of Israel celebration of Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem during the 1967 War.  The day is marked by ceremonies, and large gatherings, and a march through Jerusalem.  In previous years, clashes have erupted between Israeli and Palestinian residents during marches.”

The message also references the Palestinian observance on the same day of Naksa Day, or Day of the Setback. The day “is observed by some Palestinians to mark Israel’s conquest and occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967.  Palestinians have sometimes commemorated the day with protests and demonstrations in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip,” according to the message.

The message urges U.S. citizens living and working in Israel, including Jerusalem and the West Bank, to “be aware of your surroundings, monitor local information sources, and maintain a high degree of situational awareness as appropriate for this complex and fluid security environment.”