Has Obama ever visited Israel

Obama pays tribute to Israel

"This is a place where all the world will be reminded of the cloud of evil that can fall upon the Jewish people and all of humanity if we ever let up in our vigilance," Barack Obama said in a keynote address to young Israelis on Thursday said.

In it he once again described the so-called two-state solution as a feasible way to a lasting peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. In his political talks with representatives of the governments of both sides, the US president also urged the resumption of the peace talks.

Obama laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem memorial near Jerusalem, which commemorates the murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Together with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he had previously visited the graves of the co-founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, and of Prime Minister Izchak Rabin, who was murdered by a right-wing extremist Israeli in 1995, on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Obama recognized Rabin as someone who recognized that Israel's military victories must be followed by a struggle for peace.

The last stop on Obama's visit was the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem south of Jerusalem in the Palestinian Territory. Under their choir is the grotto in which, according to tradition, Jesus Christ was born.

Kerry on shuttle diplomacy

The US President then flew on to Jordan, where he will discuss further steps to revive the Middle East peace process with King Abdullah II. Foreign Minister John Kerry will then travel back to Jerusalem and report to Netanyahu on the talks in Jordan, according to the Israeli radio.

Kerry's main task over the next few months will be to use shuttle diplomacy to get the conflicting parties in the Middle East to hold talks. During his visit to Ramallah, Obama advised the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table without the Israeli settlement freeze.

Negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank have been on hold for years because of Netanyahu's efforts to build Jewish settlements in the areas claimed by the Palestinians.

uh / SC (dpa, afpe, rtre)