President Obama takes first visit to Israel
POSTED: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 6:17pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 10:22pm
Tyler, Tx (KETK) — The President is in Israel for his first visit as President. And for the administration, a lot is on the line.
Relations between the Israeli Prime Minister and the President are said to be very cool, and both must deal with the threat of Iran. It might be the most tricky visit any president can make.
The balancing act that is US foreign policy in the Middle East makes a trip to Israel a delicate ballet.
President George W. Bush went in his last year in office. Neither his father nor President Reagan went at all.
And this is President Obama’s first visit since he was a candidate.
“if they only tuned into the Israeli-American relationship today with the arrival of the President of the United States, they wouldn’t have a clue about the constant reporting about the disaffection between Netanyahu and Obama,” says Michael Friedsen of the news agency MediaLine Ltd. “There’s been a concerted effort on behalf of both men to at least publicly bury the hatchet and work more closely together,” he told us.
And Palestinians are upset over the President’s brief visit to Ramallah and his meeting with President Abbas.
“Those same people are saying look,” Friedsen said, “in a 48 hour period, president Obama is spending 43 hours with the Israelis and only 5 hours with the Palestinians. They see that as absolute proof that they’re just not on the radar.”
There was some hubbub on some websites about the White House map of the President’s visit. It does not include the West Bank or Golan Heights as part of Israel. They were captured during the 1967 war, and the US has never recognized them as anything but occupied territory.
The same goes for Jerusalem.
“Certainly since 1967, nobody has challenged ,” Friedsen explained. “The State Department has ruled, and I don’t think any White House has even weighed in on it.”
Both the President and Prime Minister Netanyahu were in agreement on containing Iran's’s nuclear threat and on ending the violence in Syria.
But peace talks with the Palestinians? That will take a while longer.