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article imageObama: Shalom, it's good to be back in the land of Israel

By Karl Gotthardt     Mar 20, 2013 in Politics
Tel Aviv - As President Obama stepped off Air Force 1 in Israel, he greeted his hosts with "Shalom, it's good to be back in the land of Israel. Obama reaffirmed the unbreakable bond between the two nations and vowed an eternal alliance.
The president was welcomed by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the diplomatic niceties, President Obama embraced both of his Israeli guests and said that he saw the visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds of the two nations.
“I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our two nations,” Mr. Obama said in brief remarks on the tarmac after Mr. Peres and Mr. Netanyahu praised Washington’s support for Israel.
BBC reports that Obama also referred to the the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, stating that peace must come to the Holy Land.
President Obama is accompanied by Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House lowered expectations of any progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. As reported in Digital Journal earlier, analyst believe the best that can be expected is a partial freeze on settlement construction.
Expectations for the trip are low and Obama, can at best get an agreement to a partial freeze on settlement construction in exchange for a Palestinian pledge not to take Israel's settlement activity to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The White House is playing down expectations stating that the president hopes only to help leaders come together to bring peace and democracy to the region.
According to BBC, Israel is more concerned about the wider Middle East, particularly the situation in Syria and Egypt and the nuclear developments in Iran.
The Israeli government asked President Obama to visit the hilltop tomb of Theodor Herzl, the chief theoretician of Zionism, a site avoided by other foreign leaders. Obama agreed to the visit in an attempt to repair relations with an important Middle East ally.
Obama will also travel to Ramallah for meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders. This is seen as an attempt to stay friendly with both sides. Palestinians are deeply disappointed with the US opposition to statehood in the UN.
More about Israel, Obama, visit to Israel, Netanyahu
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