Preparing for US Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel
By: Joe Gleason, AHT
The anticipated US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will likely inflame tension and provoke protests in the region – some of which could turn violent. In the past, events impacting the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem have spawned protests far beyond the West Bank/Gaza and into the broader Islamic world, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. In some locations, demonstrations have focused on Fridays, the Islamic holy day.
Additionally, spontaneous small-scale violence can occur, and extremist groups could take advantage of increased tension to launch acts of terrorism.
While it’s difficult to predict the scale of unrest, prudent planning is essential to manage potential risk. Organizations with operations or travelers in the region should consider:
- Monitoring events closely for changes in the local security environment though media sources and local contacts as well as security assistance providers such as International SOS, AIG Travel Guard, United Healthcare Global, etc. Consult assistance services and/or security professionals for guidance based on local conditions and developments.
- Avoiding demonstrations or large gatherings; wherever possible understand, in advance, the locations where protests manifest to reduce the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. US Diplomatic facilities, as well as US owned hotel chains and other locations associated with the US, may be the target of anti-American protests or violence. Whenever possible, avoid these locations or minimize time in/around them.
- Limiting non-essential travel to, and within, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for the next five days or until the situation develops more clearly. Evaluate travel to other locations as necessary.
- Being prepared to alter plans at short notice based on developments on the ground.
- Reviewing communication resources and procedures to enhance the ability to reach people at short notice and account for personnel in the event of an incident. Ensure that personnel know who to contact in the event of an emergency.
- Tracking travelers to the region closely to quickly determine exposure in the event of an incident or significant deterioration of the environment.
This situation will likely develop quickly and differently across the region. Careful monitoring of the broader events and their impact on local security conditions will be critical for effective risk management.