Report: Obama Conditions Israel Visit on Peace Talk Progress

Kerry Expected to Visit Soon, But Obama's Visit Still Uncertain

by Jason Ditz, January 27, 2013

According to Israeli media reports, Israeli President Shimon Peres’ informal invitation to President Obama to visit Israel in his second term was met with a response that Obama would only visit if Israel makes meaningful progress with Palestinian peace talks.

Obama last visited Israel in July of 2008, during his campaign for his first term in office. Not every US president visits Israel, but the conditioning of the visit suggests that hard feelings remain toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who publicly backed Obama’s opponent, former Gov. Mitt Romney, in the 2012 vote.

Not that US policy toward Israel is expected to change as a result. Sen. John Kerry (D – MA) is expected to visit Israel sometime next month, and his confirmation to Secretary of State is expected to come within a few days.

Kerry says his visit will focus on attempting to restart US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The talks collapsed in September 2010, when Israel abandoned a partial settlement freeze.

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