Jerusalem braces for march over US embassy opening

Jerusalem: Israelis in Jerusalem are preparing for a march expected to draw tens of thousands on Sunday, a day ahead of the controversial US embassy move to the disputed city.
Palestinians are readying for their own protests on Monday over the embassy’s inauguration, including another mass demonstration in the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel.
A Palestinian man plants an olive tree during a protest against Jewish settlements and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank May 13, 2018.
A Palestinian man plants an olive tree during a protest against Jewish settlements and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank May 13, 2018. (Reuters)
Sunday’s Jerusalem march begins a week of high tension between Israelis and Palestinians, highlighted by the embassy inauguration to be attended by a Washington delegation including US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
Both arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday.
The embassy move will take place on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, while the following day Palestinians will mark the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.
A Palestinian security guard at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound is detained by Israeli security forces on May 13, 201
Palestinian protests are also planned for Tuesday
For Israelis, Sunday is Jerusalem Day, an annual celebration of the “reunification” of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.
This year’s celebration takes on added significance due to the embassy move the following day.
The annual march to the Western Wall includes many hardline religious nationalists who oppose a Palestinian state, often resulting in clashes as they pass through mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem.
Capital of our people
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bolstered in recent days by Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal opened a special cabinet meeting at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum by again lauding the embassy move.
“Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible approximately 650 times,” Netanyahu said.
“The reason is simple: For over 3,000 years it has been the capital of our people, and only of our people.”
Israeli forces planned major security deployments.
Around 1,000 officers will be positioned around the US embassy and surrounding neighbourhoods for Monday’s inauguration, said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.