Angry clashes erupted in the West Bank on Thursday as the Middle East braced for violence over President Donald Trump‘s contentious decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
U.S. embassies around the world were on alert for protests after the announcement, which sparked uproar among world leaders and upended decades of American policy.
In Bethlehem, Israeli police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators while Palestinians set tires alight and threw rocks in Ramallah. In Jerusalem, about 20 chanting protesters at the historic Damascus Gate were ordered to leave by police.
American flags were burned at protests outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul and in Cairo and Gaza City late Wednesday, while Iraq on Thursday summoned the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad over the issue.
The State Department updated its “worldwide caution” advice late Wednesday and sent an internal cable deferring nonessential travel to Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank through December 20, officials told NBC News.
The U.S. Embassy in Jordan said that it had “temporarily suspended routine public services” and that “all embassy travel outside Amman, both official and personal, has been prohibited until further notice.”
In the Baqaa refugee camp on Amman’s outskirts, hundreds of Palestinians roamed the streets overnight, denouncing Trump and urging Jordan to scrap its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. “Down with America … America is the mother of terror,” they chanted.
Israel’s security force, the IDF, sent reinforcements to the West Bank as part of “readiness to possible developments” in response to the decision.
Turkey said America had dropped a grenade in the Middle East. “The United States has pulled the pin on a bomb ready to blow in the region,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told a conference in Ankara.