The Southern Command is preparing for tens of thousands of Palestinians, including children, who are expected to arrive at protest sites along the Gaza border, as well as to attempts by thousands of them to cross the border. So far, the border fence has not been breached in the six weeks of Hamas's "Great March of Return" campaign, which has included rioting every Friday.
The IDF is preparing soldiers for several extreme scenarios, as Hamas members, some armed, are expected to hide among the protests trying to breach the fence.
Troops might come under fire from the Palestinian side or encounter terrorists trying to plant an explosive device under the cover of the chaos created by the mass attempt to breach the border fence. Another extreme scenario is an attempt to abduct a soldier after the fence is breached.
The Gaza Division will have two seemingly contradictory missions. On the one hand, Israeli troops will fight to protect Israeli sovereignty and prevent Palestinian rioters from crossing the border. On the other hand, the IDF seeks to do so without causing dozens or even hundreds of unarmed Palestinian casualties.
The IDF doesn't rule out the possibility the fence will be breached, but troops are preparing to contain it no more than 1-2 kilometers from the fence, preventing Palestinians from infiltrating communities near the border, such as Nahal Oz, Netiv HaAsara, Kerem Shalom or Kissufim. To that end, the IDF will deploy hundreds of soldiers behind the front lines to stand between the Palestinian masses and the Israeli communities.
In an effort to prevent an attack by Hamas's elite Nukhba unit, teams from the IDF's elite units will also join the hundreds of snipers on the front line.
In the West Bank, where relative calm has prevailed in the recent months, the IDF is not taking any risks, fearing the events in Jerusalem would spill into the territories.
The forces are preparing for large-scale rioting in the regular friction points, as well as for lone wolf terrorists who might try to carry out a car-ramming, a stabbing or infiltrate one of the settlements.
The IDF has stressed the rules of engagement to soldiers during the briefings, in an effort to contain the violence without escalating the situation further.
Meanwhile, the Southern Command is continuing efforts to locate cross-border terror tunnels in Gaza after the ninth such tunnel found over the last six months was destroyed on Saturday evening near Beit Hanoun.
Jerusalem Day and US Embassy opening
The Jerusalem District Police has also bolstered its forces, deploying thousands of police and Border Police officers from other areas of the country in the capital starting Sunday.
During the US Embassy opening on Monday, police will boost up security across Jerusalem and particularly around the embassy and the streets leading to it.
Police will also operate a command center to provide quick response to any incident that may occur.
"The embassy opening ceremony has national and international importance and the police have been preparing for it accordingly in recent months," the police said. "As part of these preparations, police carried out overt and covert operations against any element planning to disrupt the peace and/or disrupt the ceremony."
The police said they will show "zero tolerance to any display of physical or verbal violence and will act with all measures at their disposal against lawbreakers and rioters."
Jerusalem Day, which is commemorated on Sunday, celebrates 51 years to the unification of the capital. Celebrations include the annual Flag Dance—a march along the streets of the capital—and a state ceremony at Ammunition Hill.
The Flag Dance march will lead to road closures from 3pm to 9pm. The following streets, as well as the streets leading to them, will be closed to traffic: Ben Zvi, Bezalel, King George, Hillel, Jaffa, Tzahal Square, Haim Barlev, Sultan Suleiman, Jericho Road and HaOfel Road.
In addition, Shlomo Zalman Shragai Street will be closed to traffic from 6pm to 11pm during the state ceremony at Ammunition Hill.
Streets near the US embassy will be closed for traffic on Monday, including: David Flusser, Kfar Etsyon, Yam HaMelakh, Moshe Arye Kurtz, Klausner and Siegfried Moses. Only residents of the area will be allowed to drive on these streets.