Kerry arrives in Israel, paves way for Obama visit

US secretary of state arrives on Tuesday afternoon, but not scheduled to hold any meetings with government officials.

John Kerry in Qatar 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool)
John Kerry in Qatar 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool)
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., some 19 hours before US President Barack Obama was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.
Kerry did not have any meetings planned before the arrival of the president, whom he will accompany during his 50 hour trip to Israel and the West Bank.
On Friday, the secretary of state will travel with Obama to Jordan, but then unlike Obama who will fly from Jordan back to Washington, Kerry is scheduled to return to Israel for a Saturday night dinner meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to follow up on the president's trip. He will leave Israel later that night.
Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel
On Tuesday, Water and Energy Minister Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio that Jerusalem had discussed restarting the peace process even before the January 22 elections. He echoed statements made both by Prime Minister Netanyahu and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, that Israel expects the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table without preconditions.
Police will close Highway 1 leading to Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m following Kerry's arrival. On Friday, the road will be closed off entirely during President Obama's visit. staff contributed to this report.