U.S. President Barack Obama is on his way to what the White House calls a very important visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.
This is Mr. Obama's first official visit to Israel. He will be joined by Secretary of State John Kerry as a new Israeli government featuring pro-settlement ministers takes office.
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes says there is no substitute for Mr. Obama delivering his message of support for Israel's security directly to the Israeli people.
Rhodes also says the United States has made a significant investment in the Palestinian Authority, which he calls the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people.
But Palestinians say they have been disappointed with Mr. Obama so far, and see little reason for optimism in his second term.
Mr. Obama also will stop in Jordan, where the United States has been helping officials cope with the flood of Syrian refugees.