President Obama returned to Washington D.C. on the evening of March 23rd from his four day visit to the Mideast, his first foreign trip of his second term.
Obama went to Israel for the first time in his presidency. On March 20th, Obama arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel to a welcoming crowd. He later flew to Jerusalem where he met with Israeli President Peres and then met with the Prime Minister Netanyahu. Following this was a press conference where Obama was once again ceremoniously greeted.Â On March 21th, the president delivered his important speech by addressing a crowd at the Jerusalem Center.
President Obama took this opportunity in Israel to speak about Israel’s security, the prospect of peace, the threat of nuclear Iran, and convincing Israel of America’s support. He emphasized the American-Israeli alliance by saying that it is “eternal, it is forever.”
The President spoke in factor of Palestinian statehood and strongly of the need for peace. Combined with this, Obama also clearly stated that America would not tolerate a nuclear Iran; however, would strongly prefer to prevent this through diplomacy and not violence.
“Strong and principled diplomacyâ€¦strong and principled diplomacy is the best way to ensure that the Iranian government forsakes nuclear weapons. Peace is far more preferable to war, and the inevitable costs, the unintended consequences that would come with war means that we have to do everything we can to try to resolve this diplomaticallyâ€¦” said Obama.
From the time he landed in Israel, the President spoke of the Jewish history appealed to the country by telling the Israelis “Atem lo levad.” This is “You are not alone,” in Hebrew. During his speech, Obama made an impassioned call for Israelis to take the perspective of Palestinians. This is for the sake not only of their own security, but also of justice. He was met with many cheers and applause throughout his speech.
President Obama also visited Jordan and the West Bank on his trip and spoke strongly to them of the strength of alliances, and America’s vision for the regions.