Security preparations are in full swing in Israel ahead of US Vice President Mike Pence’s impending arrival on Wednesday for a three-day visit.
Pence will spend his entire time in Israel in Jerusalem, where he will stay at the King David Hotel.
Some streets in Jerusalem will be temporarily closed when the vice president’s motorcade is on the move.
Pence will land at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Wednesday and be driven directly to Jerusalem. Later that same day, he will tour the Western Wall in the Old City.
Due to President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the statement on Friday by an unnamed American official that the Western Wall will remain part of the Jewish state in any future peace deal, police are expecting a “Palestinian welcoming party” — i.e. demonstrations and riots — for Pence, Channel 2 reported.
On Thursday morning, Pence will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the afternoon, the vice president will go to the Knesset, where he will address the plenum. That evening, Pence will dine with Netanyahu.
At Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, “This week, we will warmly welcome US Vice President Mike Pence. He is a great friend of Israel; he is a great friend of Jerusalem.”
“Once again I would like to express special appreciation for the determined leadership of President Trump and his administration in defending the truth of Israel, for vigorously rejecting the attempts to use the UN as a platform against Israel and for [their] general support,” the prime minister continued.
Pence will conclude his time in Israel on Friday with a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin and a stop at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
The vice president delayed his overseas journey — during which he will also visit Egypt and Germany — by three days to enable him to take part in the ongoing Republican effort to pass tax reform legislation.
Pence originally intended to also travel to the West Bank and meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas during his Middle East swing, but those plans were nixed by the PA following Trump’s Jerusalem move earlier this month.
Abbas said this past week the Palestinians would not accept any future role for the US as a mediator in the peace process with Israel.
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Barney Breen-Portnoy