Israel braces for what analyst says will be an "incendiary week" that begins Sunday with a gala event for the much-anticipated relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The event coincides with Israel’s Jerusalem Day, while the embassy move itself, slated for Monday, coincides with the Nakba Day – when massive protests by Palestinians are expected in Gaza and maybe even the West Bank as well.
Follow Haaretz’s live updates as these three events develop:
– Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ livestream: Watch LIVE as Israel celebrates our true friendship with the United States and the transfer of the US Embassy to our capital, Jerusalem.
5:15 P.M. Israeli flag march passes through Palestinian parts of Jerusalem
Tens of thousands of teenaged Religious Zionists are taking part Sunday in the annual Flag March in Jerusalem, which marks the anniversary of the 1967 merger of West and East Jerusalem. As usual, the march’s route is taking participants through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
In previous marches, participants shouted racist anti-Palestinian slogans while Palestinians and left-wing activists held protests. (Nir Hasson)
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5:00 P.M. In Jerusalem, Michele Bachmann apologizes for remarks about converting Jews
Former U.S. presidential candidate Michele Bachmann delivered an emotional mea culpa on Sunday for previous statements that caused great offense to the Jewish community. In an interview with a Christian radio program in November 2015, the former Republican congresswoman for Minnesota – who is a devout Christian – had suggested that mass conversions of Jews be undertaken in order to expedite the second coming of Jesus. (Judy Maltz)
4:45 P.M. Israel enlists amateur drone racers to stop ‘kite bombs’ from Gaza
Israel has begun enlisting amateur drone racers to deal with the onslaught of burning kites being flown from Gaza into Israel, where they usually start brush fires. The hobbyist-operated run racer drones, which can reach speeds of up to 110 mps and were first deployed on Friday, either fly through the kites to shred them or down them with the help of fishhooks. (Yaniv Kubovich)
2:30 P.M. Jared and Ivanka to join representatives from 32 countries in embassy gala
These are the countries that will attend tonight’s event together with a U.S. delegation that includes U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who landed earlier today: Albania, Angola, Austria, Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Kenya, Macedonia, Burma, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Serbia, South Sudan, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam, Paraguay, Tanzania and Zambia.
Netanyahu met with Kushner. The official U.S. delegation is headed by deputy secretary of state, John J. Sullivan, and will also include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and 12 members of Congress. The event will be boycotted by most European Union ambassadors in Israel. (Noa Landau)
12:47 P.M. Israel braces for escalation in Gaza , West Bank as Iran tensions ease
After a satisfactory outcome, for the time being, that ended the round of clashes with Iran in Syria, Israel’s defense establishment will have to focus this week on events in the territories. The main risk of escalation spiraling out of control will come from the major protests planned along the border fence with the Gaza Strip on Monday and Tuesday. But in the north, too, the massive strikes by the Israel Air Force and thwarting Iranian action were not the end of the matter — and at this point there is no hint that Iran is considering putting a stop to establishing itself militarily in Syria.
Hamas-sponsored demonstrations were held at the Gaza border Friday for the seventh consecutive week. One Palestinian was killed and hundreds were wounded, some by live fire, representing a decline in casualties. Hamas’ latest action — sending kites with incendiary devices into kibbutz and moshav fields near the Gaza border (which the media has dramatically dubbed “kite terror,” to the displeasure of Israel Defense Forces officers) — seems to have met its match. (Amos Harel)
12:03 P.M. Record number of Jews visit Temple Mount
Violent clashes erupted on Sunday morning between the Jerusalem Waqf and the Israel Police at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as hundreds of Jews visited the compound. During the confrontation, a policeman slapped a young Palestinian who shouted at Jews praying there, causing a violent riot.
The riots erupted after police removed a number of underage Israelis who had been praying in the compound, against regulations. Jewish Temple Mount groups said that 1,620 Jews visited the site before noon on Sunday – apparently a record daily number of Jewish visitors since 1967, when Israel occupied the Old City during the 1967 War. (Nir Hasson)
7:30 A.M. Weekend of violence: Airstrike hits Gaza tunnel
The Israeli military said the air force struck an attack tunnel in Gaza Saturday evening. Explosions were heard in the Strip’s north. According to the Israel Defense Forces, the tunnel was located a few meters from Israeli territory and, upon completion, would have led to the Israeli community of Kibbutz Erez.
Gaza’s Health Ministry reported Saturday evening that a 15-year-old Palestinian died of wounds he sustained during Friday’s protests along the border. The ministry identified him as Jamal Abu Arahman Afaneh. (Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury)