President Donald Trump (right) will meet Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (left), during his visit to Israel next week
President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad will be to the volatile Middle East, so security will be paramount for the commander in chief.
On his second stop, Israel, the president will be staying overnight in one of the safest places on earth – a bomb-proof, bullet-proof, poison gas-proof $5,700-a-night hotel suite that can withstand a rocket-propelled grenade or even a building collapse, NBC News reported on Friday.
Trump will first arrive for a visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday. He will spend two days inside the desert monarchy during which he will meet King Salman as well as other Gulf leaders.
On Monday, Trump will travel to Israel, where he will meet the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and take in historic sites in Jerusalem.
On Monday night, he will bed down at the luxurious King David Hotel in central Jerusalem, where specially made preparations have been made for his arrival, according to the hotel’s operations manager.
On Monday night, Trump will bed down at the luxurious King David Hotel in central Jerusalem, where specially made preparations have been made for his arrival. A policeman is seen standing guard in front of the hotel during President George W. Bush’s visit in January 2008
A view, including the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City, is seen through the window of a suite at the King David Hotel on May 15, 2017
Trump will stay at the presidential suite inside the hotel. The suite ‘will be able to withstand a RPG attack’, according to the hotel’s operations manager. A room inside a different suite is seen in the above image taken on May 15
‘The presidential suites have independent air conditioning in case of a gas attack and are built to withstand a RPG [rocket-propelled grenade],’ Sheldon Ritz said.
‘But still the US is bringing rocket-proof glass to put in front of the window.’
Ritz said that for one night the hotel will be turned into a ‘mini White House’ that is ready for any contingency.
‘If the whole hotel blows up the suite will come down in one piece, so maybe a few broken bones, but they will be alive,’ he said.
The King David Hotel, which usually hosts foreign dignitaries visiting Israel, is a site with historical significance in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
In 1946, Zionist militants detonated a powerful bomb in the hotel – which served as the administrative headquarters of the British Mandatory government in Palestine – killing 91 people.
The King David Hotel is a site with historical significance in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. In 1946, Zionist militants detonated a bomb in the hotel – which served as the administrative headquarters of the British Mandatory government in Palestine – killing 91 people (above)
The Israelis are rolling out all the stops to make sure Trump’s visit goes off without a hitch.
Two buses full of heavy equipment will be placed at the entrance to the main road leading to the hotel in order to prevent car bombs from penetrating through.
There will also be balloons equipped with infrared cameras deployed above the hotel.
The sewers and pipes underneath the building will have surveillance robots to make sure there are no hidden explosives.
To make sure they have all their bases covered, Israeli and American security officials will employ a ‘tester’ to sample the food being delivered to Trump and his family so as to make sure the president is not poisoned.
The enormity of the undertaking was illustrated on Thursday, when local Israeli press reported that an airlift of 30 C-17 military planes arrived carrying dozens of vehicles and heavy-duty equipment.
Trump plans on visiting the Western Wall (seen above on the right with the Dome of the Rock overlooking it on the left), which will make him the first sitting president to do so
Israeli police also said that 10,000 officers on motorcycle, special patrols, and undercover details will provide additional security for Trump while he is in Jerusalem.
The scale and scope of the security operation is exacerbated by the presence of key figures in Trump’s entourage, including daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.
On Tuesday, Trump plans to meet with the Israeli president before visiting the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Trump plans on visiting the Western Wall, which will make him the first sitting president to do so.
The visit will be fraught with symbolism, particularly in light of recent controversies surrounding the American position on the political status of Jerusalem and its holy sites.
An Israeli official said on Monday that Israel wants the White House to explain why a US diplomat preparing Trump’s visit to Jerusalem said the wall, the holiest site in Judaism, is part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital, a claim that is not recognized internationally, and the Western Wall – the holiest prayer site for Jews – is part of territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israel’s Channel 2 reported that during a planning meeting between US and Israeli officials, the Israelis were told that Trump’s visit to the Western Wall was private, Israel did not have jurisdiction in the area and that Netanyahu was not welcome to accompany Trump there.
Trump’s administration has been sending mixed messages in its dealings with a right-wing Israeli government that had hoped for a more sympathetic attitude from the Republican president after a rocky relationship with his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
‘The statement that the Western Wall is in an area in the West Bank was received with shock,’ said the official in Netanyahu’s office.
‘We are convinced that this statement is contrary to the policy of President Trump … Israel has made contact with the US on this matter,’ the official said.