Israel prepares for Palestinian violence during Pence visit

Israel braces for a possible wave of Palestinian unrest amid Pence’s trip to the country. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Israel’s security services have launched a complex operation to secure Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Jewish state on Wednesday, amid assessments that the Palestinians will react with violence following the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Sunday that the operation will be led by Israel’s chief of police and will include special measure to ensure Pence’s safety.

The police are preparing for what the report called a “Palestinian reception party,” which could include demonstrations and riots, the likes of which Israel has already experienced in recent days.

Pence was slated to meet with the Palestinian leadership, but they announced their refusal to meet him following the Jerusalem recognition.

Pence will land in Israel on Wednesday, shortly after which he will make an official visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Senior Trump administration officials outlined their view Friday that Jerusalem’s Western Wall will remain part of Israel, another declaration that inflamed passions among the Palestinians.

“We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel. But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement,” a senior administration official told AP. Another official later added by email, “We note that we cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn’t include the Western Wall.”

Pence will address the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Thursday.

Speaking at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel “will warmly welcome US Vice President Mike Pence. He is a great friend of Israel; he is a great friend of Jerusalem.”

Netanyahu again expressed his “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. We will warmly welcome [Pence] here and at the Knesset,” Netanyahu stated.