US President Donald Trump and his entourage are due to land in Israel at 12:15 today, in the next leg of the president's first overseas tour, which began in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. They will be greeted at Ben Gurion Airport by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, government ministers, and other senior figures in the state. Trump is also due to visit the Palestinian Authority and to meet its president, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), during a visit that he has declared is aimed at promoting the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Trump will stay in Israel for about twenty-four hours, until the start of Jerusalem Day, which this year marks 50 years since Israel captured East Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967 and unified the city. He is accompanied by senior members of his government and by his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. Among the US officials are Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Advisor Hebert McMaster, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
President Trump will be received by President Rivlin at his official residence today. This evening he will have talks with Netanyahu, followed by an official dinner at the prime minister's residence. Tomorrow, Trump will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and will make a speech at the Israel Museum.
The security operation for the visit has been named Operation Blue Shield, and it will involve closure of roads, leading to heavy congestion, particularly in Jerusalem. From today until Wednesday, low-cost flights that normally depart from Ben Gurion Airport Terminal 1, where Trump and his entourage will arrive, will instead depart from Terminal 3. The plan is for the US visitors to be taken from the airport to Jerusalem by 20 helicopters of the US Air Force, but Road 1, the main route to the capital, will be closed in both directions between Ganot Interchange and the Sakharov Gardens junction in case it is decided at the last minute to travel by road instead, as happened in the visit of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. From 12:00 today, and from 8:30 tomorrow, main arteries and central streets of Jerusalem will also be closed to traffic from time to time. Road 6 will be closed between the Nahshonim and Nesharim interchanges today, and will be reopened in accordance with the progress of the presidential convoy. The road will also be closed in similar fashion from 15:00 tomorrow.
Guests have been moved out of Jerusalem's King David Hotel, where the president and his entourage will stay, to neighboring hotels. "The hotel will become an American fortress', said King David Hotel manager Haim Shkedi.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 22, 2017
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017