The world’s attention will be in Jerusalem Wednesday and Thursday as world leaders and heads of state from around the globe gather are to mark and participate in ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Britain’s Prince Charles will be joined by the kings of Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, and the presidents of Russia, France, Germany, Italy and Ukraine who are among those leading nearly 50 delegations attending the events. Vice President Mike Pence will represent President Donald J. Trump.
The events begin with a Wednesday dinner at the home of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Numerous activities will lead up to a Thursday ceremony at Yad Vashem, the world’s official Holocaust memorial.
The terrorist group Hamas has voiced threats to Israel with the goal of disrupting the ceremonies. Israel has warned Hamas not to disrupt the summit for fear of severe retaliation, Israel’s Channel 13 reports.
The report says Israel believes Hamas is responsible for a recent increase in explosive balloon attacks in the south. In recent days, terrorists in Gaza have attached explosives to helium balloons and sent them flying into Israel, a cheap strategy popularized in 2018 during the March of Return riots on the southern border.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has deployed more Iron Dome batteries in the south to confront any possible rocket attacks from Hamas or other Gaza terror groups.
The report said Israel is also using the full force of the Shin Bet Security Agency to keep world leaders safe and deter any terror attacks.
Israel is also deploying 10,000 police to monitor the streets of Jerusalem and other sensitive areas during the event.
An official newspaper from the Palestinian Authority drew alarm on Monday when one of its columnists wrote that “One shot will disrupt the ceremony and one dead body will cancel the ceremony.”
“It is scandalous that the PA is allowing its official daily to call for murder to achieve a political goal,” Palestinian Media Watch Director Itamar Marcus said, as reported by The Jewish Press.
“Whereas we are used to hearing the PA call for the killing of Israelis for political purposes, here the implicit targets could be any of those world leaders who are honoring the memory of the Holocaust victims by their presence in Jerusalem,” he continued.
The Fifth World Holocaust Forum is scheduled to take place on January 23 at Yad Vashem.
World leaders began arriving on Tuesday, while most are expected to arrive on Wednesday.