Israeli security forces predict uptick in tensions as Trump inauguration looms near

Security forces increase alertness and prepare to tighten security measures, expressing concern that President-elect Trump's inauguration ceremony will exacerbate an already tense situation.

January 20, 2017 09:53
2 minute read.
An IDF soldier.

An IDF soldier.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)


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As President-elect Donald Trump is expected to officially be sworn into office later on Friday, the Israeli security establishment is preparing for possible altercations and clashes with Palestinian demonstrators.

The incoming American president has already declared in recent months his intention to follow through on several moves that are distinctly opposed to the Palestinian agenda in the region, with Palestinian political ranks vehemently protesting one specific move: his decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump's inauguration ceremony, which is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. (EST) with some 900,000 participants in attendance, has already caused a rising in tensions in the West Bank and is expected to stir further unrest. Sources from the security establishment were quoted as saying on Friday that "we are preparing for an escalation in light of the elected president's speech. We understand that his statements can exacerbate the situation in the field."

The same sources also pointed an accusatory finger in the directions of Israeli as well as Palestinian politicians and leaders, adding that "politicians' public statements could also potentially further fan the flames."

IDF forces stationed in the field have already experienced an incline in aggression following a violent standoff on Wednesday between protesters and police forces who attempted to carry out an eviction of residents and a demolition of around 10 houses in the unrecognized Beduin village of Umm al-Harin, situated in the Israeli Negev.

In the clashes one police officer died as a protester ran over police personnel with his vehicle. Several prominent Israeli Arab leaders participated in the protest to express solidarity with the village's residents, including Chairman of the Joint Arab List, MK Ayman Odeh. Odeh was injured in the altercations, with people at the scene reporting that he was hit by a rubber-tipped bullet and police saying that he was hit by a rock thrown by demonstrators.
Trump: "We have to protect Israel"

In the aftermath of the events, Israeli leaders publicly condemned MK Odeh as well as other Arab Knesset members, claiming that they were inciting Israeli Arabs to carry out acts of violence. Opposing voices attended demonstrations across the country in which they slammed government policy and its approach toward the Beduin minority community in Israel.

Referring to the Umm al-Harin violence and its results and cautiously preparing for similar repercussions following Trump's inauguration ceremony, a senior IDF officer said that "every event that happens sends us into alertness mode, and we see the consequences of such events in the the different arenas." 

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