Obama plans first visit to Israel as president: White House
Washington, United States (4E) – In an attempt to ease his fragile relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House on Tuesday disclosed United States President Barack Obama’s plans to make first visit to Israel.
The critics had slammed President Obama during his reelection campaign last year for not visiting Israel as president similar to his predecessor George W. Bush who visited the Jewish nation only in his second term.
In a statement, the White House added that the president would also visit the West Bank where he will meet Palestinian leaders and later to Jordan during this Middle Eastern trip. The visit is aimed at reviving stalled truce talks between Middle Eastern parties.
“The start of the president’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
The White House further said that during a telephonic conversation on January 28, Obama discussed his possible visit to Israel and it is most likely after Netanyahu forms a new governing coalition. “Additional details about the trip – including the dates of travel – will be released at a later time,” the White House added. If Israeli media reports are to be believed, Obama is to come to Israel on March 20.
Obama and Netanyahu have been at odds over Israeli settlement building, peace talks with Palestinians and imminence of threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program.