On March 20, President Barack Obama travelled to Israel and was welcomed with open arms by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres. Obama also met with the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah and King Hussein of Jordan.
This is Obama’s first trip to Israel as president. It comes at a historic time of turbulence in the region, as the Syrian civil war has escalated to the possible use of chemical weapons, there is continued political instability in Egypt, and the threat of a nuclear Iran. All of these challenges highlight the importance of the strong relationship between the United States and Israel.
In a bipartisan letter to Obama, signed by 78 politicians on the eve of his trip, senators stated that the trip provides the president with “the opportunity to reaffirm the unshakable bonds between the United States and Israel, and that America will not tolerate efforts by the Palestinians to delegitimize Israel.”
In a similar letter to the president from members of the U.S. House of Representatives, multiple U.S. congressman urged Obama to reiterate to Israel the core principles that both countries share, including the importance of preventing a nuclear Iran, achieving peace through direct negotiations, protecting Israel’s qualitative military edge and maintaining foreign aid to Israel including support for Iron Dome missile defense system.
Since Israel declared its independence in 1948, 12 U.S. presidents have made statements supporting Israel while in office. This should come as no surprise due to the fact that the United States is one of Israel’s greatest allies and friends.
Obama has stated, “As president I have made it clear that American commitment to Israeli security which is nonnegotiable, we hold more security and training than ever before. And that includes more support for Iron dome which has saved lives.”
As many political observers know, the president’s relationship with Netanyahu has been viewed as frosty, and his commitment to Israel has been questioned more than any president since Jimmy Carter.
President Obama’s motivation for travelling to Israel is clear. As previously stated there are major challenges that Israel is facing: potential of a nuclear armed Iran and the growing conflict in Syria. Obama and Netanyahu are both on the same page on these issues. A primary motivation for Obama’s trip to Israel is to assure the American public, which tends to be pro-Israel, that his support is iron clad and that the United States will stand by Israel through these difficult times. This is an excellent move on the President’s part. Thus, he will not only assure the Israeli public that the United States will stand by the shining beacon of democracy in the world’s most turbulent regions, but will also assure the American people that the President holds Israel’s interests at heart.
*The views in this article represent the opinion of the author, and not those of CisternYard News.