Security forces were on high alert in Jerusalem Sunday ahead of a series of emotionally charged events slated to take place in the capital this week.
Thousands of police officers and Border Police troops have deployed across the city in preparation for the Jerusalem Day events on Sunday, the opening of the U.S. Embassy in the capital on Monday and Nakba (“Catastrophe”) Day on Tuesday, when the Palestinians commemorate their displacement during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
Events are expected to come to a head on Friday, when prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque usher in the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The American delegation to the embassy’s opening ceremony arrived in Israel on Sunday.
The delegation is led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and includes Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, who will be joined by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Jerusalem District Police Commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy has been tasked with navigating the events of this volatile week. His troops will be reinforced by police and Border Police personnel from around the country.
“We are in the midst of the most difficult month and the most sensitive week we’ve seen in years,” a senior police officer told Israel Hayom.
The officer stressed that the police have no concrete intelligence of imminent terrorist attacks. However, he said the public must remain vigilant, as most recent attacks have been perpetrated by lone-wolf terrorists working to their own agendas, making attacks difficult to predict.
Another concern is that security clashes on Israel’s borders with Syria and the Gaza Strip could spill over into the West Bank and Jerusalem, especially given recent anti-Semitic statements by Palestinian Authority officials. Police believe the recent escalation in rhetoric could fuel attempts to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel.
As a precaution, the Jerusalem District Police plans to cordon off several streets leading to the new U.S. Embassy ahead of its dedication ceremony Monday.
“The ceremony marking the relocation of the U.S. Embassy is of national and international importance, and the police will provide both perimeter and road security for it in the city and in the villages surrounding the Jerusalem area,” a police statement said.
A senior police officer said, “We have deployed undercover and uniformed forces and we are determined to prevent any disturbance to public order.”
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