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U.S. president welcomed at Israeli airport

(Xinhua)

08:42, March 21, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) is welcomed by Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) during a welcoming ceremony at the Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, on March 20, 2013. Obama arrived in Tel Aviv in Israel Wednesday to start his first visit as U.S. president to Israel. Obama will spend three days in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.(Xinhua/Yin Dongxun)

TEL AVIV, Israel, March 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama received a grand welcome ceremony upon arriving at the Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv of Israel around Wednesday noon.
The president was greeted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of the new Israeli cabinet inaugurated on Monday.

A total of 1,000 people attended the ceremony including a marching band.

President Obama thanked Israelis for their "warm reception" and said in Hebrew that it's "good to be in Israel again."

"The United States and Israel share a strong alliance and friendship. It's not an accident that this is my first stop in my overseas trip," Obama added.

"I came here to reaffirm the connection between our countries. We stand together because we share a common story... because we're democracies and we share the view that peace must come to the holy land," Obama said. "Our alliance is forever," he concluded.

Netanyahu called Obama's visit "historic" and expressed his appreciation for the United States' support for Israel and the two countries' close cooperation on security and intelligence.

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