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Greg Bluestein

Gov. Deal arrives in Israel at a testy moment

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Jerusalem - Gov. Nathan Deal and dozens of members of a state trade delegation arrived in Jerusalem Saturday to find a city on edge.

The kidnapping of three Israeli teens and the sweeping response by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prompted fears of escalating cycles of violence. The news media here are openly worrying that a third Palestinian uprising, or intifadah, could wrack the Holy Land. The last two uprisings yielded suicide bombings from Palestinians and military crackdowns by Israelis.

Militants are firing sporadic rockets into southern Israel from the Gaza strip, and the Israeli Defense Forces have stepped up its already ubiquitous presence in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. Meanwhile, the U.S. is urging all sides to exercise restraint.

So far as we know, Deal’s itinerary, which includes visits to the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, remains unchanged. His visit also coincides with a mission trip by the Jewish Federation of Georgia that includes more than 200 of the state’s most prominent Jewish families.

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