Obama plans to visit, US envoy to Israel says

Cunningham doesn't specify date but says visit is on agenda; Rivlin: Israelis feel Obama sees Israel as burden, not asset.

July 6, 2011 01:04
2 minute read.
PM Netanyahu, US President Obama at White House

PM Netanyahu with US President Obama at White House 311. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


US President Barack Obama plans to visit Israel, outgoing US Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham said in the Knesset on Tuesday.

“The president wants to visit Israel, and he’ll do it,” Cunningham said during a meeting with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef pushes for Pollard release
Spent tear gas canisters thrown at US envoy's house

“Israelis fear that the atmosphere in the White House has changed for the worse,” Rivlin told the envoy. “The feeling is that Obama sees Israel as a burden, as opposed to a strategic asset.”

“When Obama visited Egypt and the region, he chose not to come to Israel, and this bothered many Israelis,” Rivlin added. “You cannot deny the public’s feelings and try to change them through explanations.”

Cunningham told Rivlin that the Israeli feeling is mistaken, and a visit to Israel is on Obama’s agenda – but did not give a specific date for the visit.

There has been talk intermittently for over a year about an Obama visit, with American Jewish leaders urging him to make the trip in a bid to win the trust of a skeptical Israeli public.


There were numerous reports in the spring that Obama was planning to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference hosted in Jerusalem last month by President Shimon Peres. A source close to the White House told The Jerusalem Post two weeks ago that Obama expressed serious interest a couple of months ago in coming to the event.

In the interim, however, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to Washington on a visit marked by tension with Obama over the president’s proposal for negotiations with the Palestinians to start using the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps, as a baseline. That tension, the source said, thwarted the planned Obama visit.

Nevertheless, discussions about a possible visit are continuing in Washington.

If there is to be a visit, the source said, it would likely be by the end of the year to avoid a perception that if Obama came in 2012, it would only be because of the presidential elections in November of that year.

Rivlin and Cunningham also discussed peace efforts, with the Knesset speaker saying that “Americans think that if we give up everything there will be real peace, but that is a mistake.”

“The Palestinians are not prepared to accept difficult decisions,” Rivlin added. “[PA President Mahmoud Abbas] may have abandoned terrorism, but he still would not dare to say loud and clear that the Palestinian interest is to live in peace next to Israel – with only one army between the Jordan River and the sea.

“There are no short-cuts in the Middle East. Even a person who ascended from a senator to the president of the US cannot make miracles happen.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN