Thousands of Palestinian and US security personnel imposed a virtual curfew on the West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday hours ahead of a landmark visit by US President George W. Bush.
Districts around the headquarters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were locked down from midnight with all vehicles banned from the roads as security officials took no chances with the US leader's safety.
Palestinian authorities issued an order banning locals from climbing on to their roofs to watch the arrival of the first US president to touch down at the compound.
Snipers and spotters scoured the area ahead of Bush's arrival by helicopter for his talks with Abbas.
Security chiefs compiled a list of the names and personal details of residents living within the security cordon around the leadership compound and banned outsiders from entering the zone.
The monumental security operation turned the area into a fortress with around 4,000 law enforcement officers deployed across Ramallah.
The draconian measures, combined with a White House refusal to tour the mausoleum of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have angered residents.
Rasha Qawas, 36, who lives near the compound, decided to move out of the district during Bush's visit.
"The Americans are proud of their history and their symbols. By ignoring the mausoleum set up as our monument to historic leader Yasser Arafat, Bush is showing contempt for all our sacrifices," she said.
Mohammad Al-Batrawi was more fatalistic.
"I never expected Bush to visit Arafat's mausoleum because it was the symbol of our fight and the American president never became involved with that," he said.
Greengrocer Yasser Iqab, 36, said Bush's visit would change nothing in terms of the Palestinian territories.
"It is to be expected that he would not visit Arafat's tomb, because the United States are partly responsible for his death," he said.