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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs