Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is headed for the United States, seeking President Bush's strong endorsement for Israel's scheduled withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
The two leaders are to meet Monday at the president's Texas ranch, for talks also expected to focus on Israel's plan to expand its largest West Bank settlement.
Israel insists on building 3,500 new homes in the (Maale Adumim) settlement near Jerusalem. But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the plan is at odds with the U.S.-backed "roadmap" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
In Jerusalem, Israeli police deployed in force today (Sunday) to head off ultranationalist Jews who threatened to occupy a site sacred to Muslims and Jews.
But authorities say no more than 200 protesters showed up and were blocked from entering the hill-top compound known to Muslims as the Nobel Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.