WEST BANK (Dispatches) – U.S. Marine forces were placed on high alert to engage in rapid military response in anticipation of major violence stemming from Washington’s controversial bid to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds, according to a newly-revealed Pentagon document.
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima loitered in the North Red Sea for the entire month of May in 2018 after assuming an "elevated crisis response posture” in response to the contentious embassy move, a command chronology of the 26th MEU detailed as cited in a Friday report by Marine Corps Times news outlet, which was obtained through a government records request the command chronology of the MEU’s actions and exploits, containing its historical archived record.
According to the chronology, at the time the MEU was focused on "high risk embassies” in [Jordan’s capital] Amman, [Lebanese capital] Beirut and [Egypt’s capital] Cairo, as U.S. authorities prepared to move the embassy to al-Quds in face of international condemnations and massive protest rallies within Palestine and elsewhere.
"Marines aboard the Iwo Jima were on standby to provide alert forces for quick reaction troops or Marines for the tactical recovery of aircraft personnel, commonly known as a TRAP mission,” the chronology further explained.
It also added that those troops "were on standby to react within two hours to six hours of notification of an event that would require their forces to be launched on a mission.”
The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds was announced in early December 2017, prompting worldwide censure, even from US allies. Trump further declared at the time that Washington would recognize al-Quds as the occupying regime’s official capital.
The newly-declassified document also revealed that on April 25, 2018, the 26th MEU carried out a "full mission profile” of a noncombatant evacuation operation as part of its annual Eager Lion war games in Jordan.
During the military exercise, it added, the U.S. Marines forces inserted security augments and evacuated 36 Department of State and military personnel to the Iwo Jima.
The 26th MEU also took part in the biennial war games dubbed Juniper Cobra held in the Israeli-occupied territories in March 2018, several months prior to the U.S. embassy move.
Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have been holding protest rallies every week since March 2018, demanding the return of the local population driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression.
Zionist troops have so far killed at least 307 Palestinians since the beginning of the rallies and wounded more than 18,000 others, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.