News / Middle East

Anticipation High in Israel for Obama Visit

President Barack Obama waves as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 19, 2013.
President Barack Obama waves as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 19, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Israel, the fifth visit of a U.S. president since Israel's founding.  There is an atmosphere of anticipation, but also realism among Israelis and Palestinians about what may be accomplished.

President Obama's Mideast Trip

Israel
-Will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
-Plans to visit Israel's Holocaust memorial and the grave of Yitzhak Rabin
-Will deliver speech to Israeli students
West Bank
-Will meet in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
-Plans to visit Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity
Jordan
-Will meet with King Abdullah
-Plans to visit Petra
Israel is ready for Obama. Thousands of American and Israeli flags adorn lampposts in Jerusalem.  About 5,000 Israeli police are involved in ensuring security during each day of the presidential visit.

At Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, the president will get a full ceremonial welcome and will deliver remarks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

Obama also will inspect anti-missile systems and associated radar technology developed with hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. support.

It's then on to Jerusalem, where the three leaders will hold talks and Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu will make statements.

Obama's visit comes amid continuing skepticism among Israelis about his commitment to Israel's security, especially in the face of threats from Iran, and despite his numerous pledges that he "has Israel's back."

Stops President Barack Obama is making on his trip to the middle east, March 20-22.Stops President Barack Obama is making on his trip to the middle east, March 20-22.
x
Stops President Barack Obama is making on his trip to the middle east, March 20-22.
Stops President Barack Obama is making on his trip to the middle east, March 20-22.
A poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University found 36 percent of Israeli Jews view him as friendly toward Israel, a several percentage point increase from a year ago.

Obama addressed such skepticism during a news conference in 2012.

"The measure of my commitment to Israel is seen in the actions that I have taken as president of the United States, and it is indisputable that I have had Israel's back over the last three years," said President Obama.

The president's talks with Israeli leaders will focus on a range of issues, but notably the threat Israel faces from Iran's nuclear program, and the situation in Syria.

The Assad government in Syria and rebels exchanged accusations Tuesday about alleged chemical weapons use, something Obama has said would cross a so-called U.S. red line.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the matter is certain to be high on the agenda throughout Obama's Mideast trip.

"I have no doubt that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the president will discuss it, President Shimon Peres and the president will discuss it as well, and it will be a topic, I’m sure, in discussions with other leaders - the king of Jordan, as well as the Palestinian leader," said Carney.

On the Israel-Palestinian conflict, White House officials say  Obama will listen to both sides and assess possible steps that could be taken to re-start direct talks.
 
Obama meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

The same Israel Democracy Institute Poll found 62 percent of Jewish Israelis believe Obama will be unable to achieve any breakthrough on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid