US President Barack Obama during an Israeli visit before his 2008 election (file photo)
In his upcoming Israel visit, US President Barack Obama will spend just a few hours in Palestinian Ramallah and the rest of the 3-day tour visiting grave of Zionism founder Theodor Herzl, a Holocaust memorial and an anti-missile system, among other Israeli sites.
During the visit that begin on Wednesday, Obama will spend “just a few hours” in the Palestinian Authority base of Ramallah, and the rest of his three-day stay in al-Quds (Jerusalem), where he plans to visit an “official” so-called Holocaust memorial, a partially US-built Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile site and Herzl’s grave, The Los Angele Times
reports on Friday.
In visiting the gravesite of the Zionism founder and the Holocaust spot, Obama intends to highlight the point he made during his widely publicized Cairo speech in 2009, when he urged his Egyptian audience to accept the Zionist regime’s right to exist while denouncing efforts to deny the growingly suspicious Holocaust story, the report states, citing US and Israeli officials.
"This may not be readily apparent to an American audience, but for Israelis, and for the region, they (Herzl’s grave and Holocaust memorial) are heavy with meaning," Israeli regime’s US envoy Michael Oren is quoted as saying in the report.
Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes is further quoted as saying on his upcoming Israeli visit, "The president has a very strong record of support for Israel and its security, but we also understand that there is no substitute for the president of the United States going to Israel and delivering that message directly to the Israeli people."
Obama is also scheduled to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, but not a mosque while touring the Old City in East al-Quds.
The report further points to polls taken in the occupied Palestine, showing “many Israelis harboring suspicion of Obama that dates at least to his June 2009 trip to Cairo in which he called for a "new beginning" in America's relations with the Muslim world.”
It then refers to a Friday opinion poll taken by a major Israeli daily, indicating that 38% of Israelis defined Obama's attitude toward their country as "hostile" compared with 33% who found it "favorable."
“More worrisome for Obama,” the daily adds, “only 10% of respondents said their opinion of the president was favorable, while the rest said their view was indifferent, unfavorable or even hateful."
Meanwhile, according to the report, the White House has tried to lower expectations of Obama's visit later in the week, “particularly avoiding any anticipation of a breakthrough” regarding any talks with Palestinians in a near future.
Other press reports on Obama’s upcoming tour of the occupied Palestine have described it as a largely symbolic move, merely to reiterate the American establishment’s unconditional commitment to the Zionist regime.