JERUSALEM – Many major roads in Jerusalem are decorated with American flags in honor of President Biden’s visit, but that’s not all. Every few yards, notices warn the public of intermittent road closures for three days of visiting.
With schools on summer vacation and tourism returning two years after coronavirus measures prompted Israel to close its borders to foreigners, Jerusalem is preparing for days of urban paralysis and Israelis anticipate this decade’s national traffic crunch.
The Israeli police said that 16,000 officers and volunteers will participate in securing the roads, the presidential convoy and directing traffic. Police described the arrangement – dubbed “Blue Shield 3” – as a “complex national operation” focusing primarily on Ben Gurion International Airport, Jerusalem and the main roads into the city.
Israelis were advised to stay close to their homes on Wednesday, and Biden is scheduled to land in the afternoon before heading to Jerusalem with his large delegation. Most of the main highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is expected to be closed to the public for hours, along with other important sections of the national road network.
In the center of Jerusalem, an outdoor car park has been cleared and leveled to serve as a landing pad for US military helicopters that will transport Mr. Biden to some meetings and events.
On Friday, most of Jerusalem will stop as Biden and his entourage tour the city to visit a Palestinian hospital on the Mount of Olives in northeastern Jerusalem, followed by a visit to Bethlehem to meet the Palestinians. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. After that, Mr. Biden is expected to fly directly to Saudi Arabia.