J’Dana Holsinger, ’Doah Staff Writer
March 26, 2013
This past week President Obama went on a diplomatic relations trip to Israel and Palestine. It was his first trip to the conflict-stricken area during his time as President. Israel and Palestine have a long history of dispute and strife due to religious differences and other problems stemming from land boundaries and ideology. The U.S. has long allied itself with Israel. During his visit, Obama met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed relations between them and Palestine, and how to best maintain peace.
The President’s visit to the Jewish state was a much-needed political move because he has not had the strongest relationship with the Israeli Prime Minister. He was criticized harshly by Republicans and other advocates for not working to properly maintain U.S.-Israeli relations. Obama’s trip also included visits to Israeli historic sites such as the grave of Theodor Herzl, considered one of the major influences on modern Zionism, and the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.
After visiting Israel, and making a plea to the Israeli youth to strive for future peace with Palestine, he then headed down to meet with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to navigate the delicate role of mediator between the two rival nations.
Obama urged Abbas that the two countries needed to engage in face-to-face relations in order to solve their problems and hopefully maintain peace. He stressed that the people of both countries deserved peace and serenity and that the Palestinians deserved a country of their own.
In the final stop of his trip, Obama went to Jordan. He met with King Abdullah II of Jordan about the neighboring war in Syria. Due to the Assad regime killing its citizens in Syria, many native Syrians have been fleeing to Turkey and Jordan. Over 400,000 refugees have fled to Jordan alone, and Turkey has received an obscene number of refugees as well. In a press conference Obama maintained that the U.S. would not be committing any military troops to the war-torn Syria.
Overall, the President’s Middle East trip was a diplomatic success.