State Department Not Saying Jerusalem Is In Israel

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The U.S. State Department refrained on Dec. 7 from stating that Jerusalem is in Israel, following the Dec. 6 announcement by President Donald Trump recognizing the city as the Israeli capital.

David Satterfield, the acting assistant secretary for the State Department's Bureau for Near East Affairs, was asked at a press briefing what country the State Department considers Jerusalem to be in, according to The Hill.

"The president recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel," said Satterfield.

However, Satterfield went on to note that there has been "no change in our policy with respect to consular practice or passport issuance at this time."

In practice, this means that passports issued to U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem will not list Israel as their place of birth. In addition, the address of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem will only list the name of the city, with no mention of Israel.

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The State Department has also warned U.S. citizens to avoid crowded areas in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and has restricted travel for U.S. government employees.

In response to Trump's announcement, which included a commitment to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, protests have broken out throughout the region.

Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinian protesters across the border with the Gaza Strip Dec. 8. The Israeli army acknowledged that live ammunition was used, and health officials in Gaza confirmed that 56 people were injured, three of them critically.

An Israeli army source described the incidents as violent riots. They added that Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails.

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The Palestinian Red Crescent, a humanitarian organization associated with the International Red Cross, reported 245 injuries following clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to The Times of Israel and Devex. In Bethlehem and Ramallah, Israeli troops fired tear gas.

The status of Jerusalem is highly contentious, with both Israel and Palestine claiming it as their capital.

"Today we declare an uprising against the occupation, and there are no half solutions," said Fathi Hammad, a member of the political committee of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, according to the Washington Post. "We call upon all the free people of the world to boycott America and Israel, and we call on the Arab and Islamic countries to take a serious stand and support our people."

A very different mood prevailed among Israeli government officials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a video message.

"President Trump has always linked himself to the history of our capital," stated Netanyahu. "His name will now float along with other names in the context of the glorious history of Jerusalem and our people."

Sources: Devex, The Times of Israel, The Hill, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Shealah Craighead/whitehouse.gov via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: U.S. Department of State/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, MathKnight/Wikimedia Commons

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