Barack Obama arrived in Israel and stressed the historic ties between the United States and the Jewish state.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is on a Middle East and European tour aimed at shoring up his foreign policy credentials.
“I want input and insight from Israeli leaders about how they see the current situation,” Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, said Tuesday night at Ben Gurion International Airport. “I’ll share some of my ideas. The most important idea for me to reaffirm is the historic and special relationship between the United States and Israel, one that cannot be broken and one that I have reaffirmed throughout my career.”
Obama will meet Wednesday with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Earlier Tuesday in Jordan, Obama said as president he would begin working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal from his first day in office.
“There’s a tendency for each side to focus on the faults of the other rather than look in the mirror,” Obama told reporters in Amman before heading to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“The Israeli government is unsettled, the Palestinians are divided between Fatah and Hamas, and so it’s difficult for either side to make the bold move that would bring about peace,” Obama said.
“My goal is to make sure that we work, starting from the minute I’m sworn into office, to try to find some breakthroughs.”
Obama was careful to point out that peace would not come about overnight and that a U.S. president could not “suddenly snap his fingers and bring about peace.”