News / Middle East

    Israeli, Palestinian Leaders Welcome Obama Visit

    Obama with Netanyahu, second left, Abbas second right, Jordan's King Abdullah II, right, and Egypt's then-President Mubarak, the White House, Sept. 1, 2010.
    Obama with Netanyahu, second left, Abbas second right, Jordan's King Abdullah II, right, and Egypt's then-President Mubarak, the White House, Sept. 1, 2010.
    Scott Bobb
    Officials in Israel and the Palestinian territories Wednesday hailed U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming trip to the region, noting it will be the first trip abroad of his second term and his first visit as president.
     
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, says the planned visit by President Obama, who stopped in Israel while campaigning for election in 2008, will show the intimate relationship between the United States and Israel.
     
    "It will also be an opportunity to talk about the excellent cooperation that exists between our two countries, and of course to discuss some of the challenges that we face – first and foremost the threat posed by the Iranian pursuit of a nuclear weapon," he said.
     
    The White House did not announce a date for the visit, but Israeli media said it would be in late March, after Netanyahu is due to form his coalition government.
     
    Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Israeli radio that the trip would focus on two main issues.
     
    "First to resume the [Israeli-Palestinian] peace process and create regional support for it, and secondly to build a regional coalition against Iran and its partners," he said, referring to military cooperation between Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement. Israel says those adversaries have thousands of missiles aimed at its territory and must be contained.
     
    Israel's air force last week reportedly attacked a convoy of Syrian missiles said to be heading toward the Lebanese border.
     
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Obama's upcoming visit. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of his Palestine Liberation Organization, said she hopes the visit will bring a new U.S. approach and end the stalemate over the Middle East peace talks.
     
    "We hope that it does signal a seriousness of intent in terms of re-engaging in a positive and constructive way... in order to end this Israeli occupation and also to end Israeli impunity and unilateral measures, and to prepare the ground effectively for a just peace," she said.
     
    Palestinian officials say they will resume negotiations only if Israel stops building Jewish settlements in the West Bank; Israel says talks should resume without preconditions.
     
    A member of the Palestinian negotiating team and senior Abbas adviser, Mohammed Ishtayieh, told Palestinian radio that the Camp David peace talks of 1978 successfully brokered the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty because they were mediated personally by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
     
    If a U.S. president does not involve himself directly in the peace effort, he said, it will fail.
     
    Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, told local media that Obama will bring a complex but urgent agenda when he visits the region.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora