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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs