News / Middle East

    Obama Set for Mideast Trip With Low Expectations for Breakthrough

    President Barack Obama waves prior to boarding Air Force One before departing form Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, March. 15,  2013.
    President Barack Obama waves prior to boarding Air Force One before departing form Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, March. 15, 2013.
    U.S. President Barack Obama departs Washington Tuesday for Israel, the first stop of a four-day Mideast trip also taking him to the West Bank and Jordan. Obama will hold talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and will discuss Syria and Iran.

    President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will greet President Obama on his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.  All three will deliver remarks.

    Then come bilateral talks, beginning at President Peres' residence in Jerusalem and later with Prime Minister Netanyahu, followed by a joint news conference.

    Obama is not carrying any new peace initiative on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.  That has led some commentators to describe the visit as largely symbolic.

    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
    In a speech at Jerusalem's International Conference Center Thursday, for which there was fierce public competition for tickets, he is expected to cite his record of strong support for Israel and its security.

    But the U.S. president also is expected to say that breaking the stalemate in peace efforts to achieve a two-state solution is becoming even more critical amid sweeping changes in the Arab world.

    White House officials say that message is important. 

    "In the past, the peace processes with a variety of countries and partners in the region were between Israel and individual leaders," National Security Council official Ben Rhodes said.  "And as you move towards more democratic, more representative and responsive governments, Israel needs to take into account the changing dynamic and the need to reach out to public opinion across the region."

    Wednesday's discussions will cover stalled peace efforts, Israeli concerns about Syria's civil war, and the threat posed to Israel by Iran's nuclear program.

    "It is really on Iran that the visit will have a lot of import because the president has to convince the Israelis that he has got their back, and the Israelis have to be convinced that he is for real and therefore they should sit on their hands and do nothing," said Dan Serwer, with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

    Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
    x
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
    On Thursday, Obama goes to Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority-governed West Bank.  He will hold talks with President Mahmoud Abbas before a joint news conference and a visit to a youth center.

    Neil Kritz of the U.S. Institute for Peace says Obama will focus his messages to Israelis and Palestinians, making the case that peace is in their interests.

    "It is important for the president to convey that the U.S. is committed to a two-state solution, to the existence of a state of Palestine, and that this is something that needs to move forward that both sides need to engage on as well as conveying to publics on both sides that compromises will need to be made," Kritz said.

    Friday, Obama visits locations that are highly important and emotional, and religiously significant, for Israelis and Jews, Palestinians and Christians.   

    He will lay a wreath at the graves of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's prime minister assassinated by a Jewish fanatic in 1995, and Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism.

    Obama then visits Yad Vashem, the memorial to the millions of victims of the Holocaust.  He returns to the West Bank to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

    The president concludes his trip in Jordan, where White House officials say he will discuss Syria, refugee flows, and political and economic reforms with King Abdullah.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ali from: TURKEY
    March 20, 2013 3:49 AM
    Grandfather=England
    Son=USA
    Grandson=Israel
    It is normal of these counntries support each other.

    by: Roy Pacheco from: Canada
    March 19, 2013 2:52 PM
    Such a waste of money and time,when all negotiations can be acomplished in Washington!
    A futile effort!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora