Israelis prepare for the traffic snarl of the decade.

Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-07-13 10:47:27 : Isabel Kershner

JERUSALEM — Many of Jerusalem’s main thoroughfares are festooned with American flags in honor of President Biden’s visit, but that’s not all. Every few yards, notices warn the public of sporadic closure of the roads for the three-day duration of the visit.

With schools on summer vacation and tourism returning after two years of coronavirus measures that prompted Israel to close its borders to foreigners, Jerusalem is bracing for days of urban paralysis and Israelis are anticipating the national traffic snarl of the decade.

The Israel police said that 16,000 officers and volunteers would be involved in securing the routes and the presidential convoy, and directing traffic. The police described the arrangements — Code-named “Blue Shield 3” — as a “complex national operation” mainly focusing on Ben-Gurion International Airport, Jerusalem and the main routes leading to the city.

Israelis have been advised to stick close to home on Wednesday, with Mr. Biden scheduled to land in the afternoon before making his way to Jerusalem along with his sizable delegation. Most of the main highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is expected to be closed to the public for hours, along with other critical sections of the national roads network.

In central Jerusalem, an outdoor parking lot has been cleared and flattened to serve as a landing pad for U.S. military helicopters that will ferry Mr. Biden to some of the meetings and events.

On Friday, much of Jerusalem will come to a standstill as Mr. Biden and his delegation traverse the city to visit a Palestinian hospital on the Mount of Olives in northeastern Jerusalem, followed by a visit to the city of Bethlehem for a meeting with the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas. After that, Mr. Biden is expected to fly directly to Saudi Arabia.

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