Obama Lands in Israel Amid Low Expectations
Iran, Syria, Palestine will be discussed
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2013 6:42 AM CDT
Updated Mar 20, 2013 7:30 AM CDT
President Barack Obama is greeted by Israeli President Shimon Perez, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 20, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – President Obama arrived in Israel today for his first visit to the country since taking office, the AP reports, calling the itinerary "laden more with symbolism than substance." Foremost on the agenda: Iran's nuclear program, the Syria conflict, and the Israel-Palestine peace process. Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, and Netanyahu is expected to ask for a "red line" for Iran to ensure military action is taken if the country gets too close to developing an atom bomb, NBC News reports. Israel is also concerned about Syria's conflict creating instability in the border zone between the two countries.

Obama will also be visiting the Palestinian Authority and Jordan for the first time this week, before flying home Saturday. But his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not seen as "positive," a PLO official tells Reuters, and Obama is not expected to make much progress in restarting stalled peace talks. In fact, some don't expect him to make much progress on anything. "This seems to me to be an ill-scheduled and ill-conceived visit," says the president of a Tel Aviv-based think tank. "On the Iranian situation, Israel and the USA don't seem to have anything new to say to each other. On Syria, the Americans don't have a clear outlook." The White House itself has attempted to lower expectations for any breakthroughs. Politico catches a lighter moment as Obama arrived this morning, in which he jokes, "It's good to get away from Congress."

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Obama Lands in Israel Amid Low Expectations is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 24 comments
Mar 20, 2013 3:08 PM CDT
if the Jews believe anything this guy says during his short visit they are stupid. He is just checking a box and he hates Israel. I guarantee when he is with those loser Palestinians he will be kiss their ass and will trash the jews. He is such a duplicitous scumbag never does anything other than for the show of it. He cares nothing for anything other than Barack H Obama.
Mar 20, 2013 2:13 PM CDT
The Real torture is watching Israeli children jumping like crackpots and singing Shirley Bassey’s old songs for Obama as if he’s a pedophile. Israelis lost their mind. Jerusalem artichokes and red mullet tossed with green soybeans prepared by Chef Shalom Kadosh. Are you trying to kill him or nuke Iran or both or what? Obama is Chicagoan Hikikomori, his main Diet French Fries & Burger. I don’t need to wait for Bibi/Obama meeting outcome. Obama snubbed Bibi as Netanyahu delivered his carping dull speech. Obama loathed every moment of it. His body language obviously ain’t friendly. Bibi’s cover-up narrative about Middle East Prosperity was foolish because Obama knows very well that Bibi would love to nuke the entire Middle East if he’s allowed to. Bibi is finished. Idiots never learn. In order Not to offend Arabspringers, Obama skipped Kotel Mugshot Rituals that Israelis crave unless he tours Israel’s Nightmare; Dome of the Rock as well. He’s visiting a church instead. He will have no Mugshot inspecting Hamas Rocket Stockpile that Israel uses to milk US Sympathy and fools Petty. Obama doing what he’s doing, going where he’s going, and avoiding what he’s avoiding. Though Abbas is powerless to peace with Israel Obama will visit Ramallah to mark his mating ground. Now I feel better. Obama hugged Peres as friend and jabbed Bibi as another Nut-Job with a lot of ego trying survive.
Mar 20, 2013 1:26 PM CDT
1st the haters scream that Obama never went to Israel,,,,now the haters scream that he is wasting money, doing photo-ops, and politicizing the trip.....just cant make you loony right wing haters happy,,,,