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What are the fruits of Obama's Middle East visit?


13:49, March 25, 2013

BEIJING, March 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday concluded his visit to Israel, Palestine and Jordan -- the first overseas travel in his second term seemingly intended to ease tensions in the Middle East and coordinate positions on Iran.

Obama has mainly done three things during his tour to the Middle East: The president improved his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, coordinated positions with Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue, and tried to restart the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.

Analysts said that by this visit, Obama reiterated his security commitment to Israel, and expressed the U.S. stance on the establishment of a Palestinian state. However, concrete measures were not given on solving the Middle East's heated issues during Obama's visit.


During his visit to Israel, Obama reiterated that the U.S. commitment to Israel is "a solemn obligation" and that the security of Israel is "non-negotiable."

He said U.S. support for Israel's security is unprecedented, noting that the alliance between the two countries has never been stronger. Although the United States is facing a tight budget, Obama agreed to begin discussions on extending U.S. military assistance to Israel.

As a result, Israeli media commented that a major achievement of Obama's visit was that he improved relations with Netanyahu, which consolidated the alliance between the two countries.

Netanyahu's relationship with Obama soured as Netanyahu insisted on building more Jewish settlements in occupied territories, demanded clear "red lines" from Washington on the Iranian unclear issue, and expressed support to Obama's Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential elections.

The Washington Post also said Obama and Netanyahu expressed "an unusual degree of solidarity."

Obama's visit has also helped improve relations between Israel and Turkey, both U.S. allies. Under Obama's mediation, leaders of Israel and Turkey have agreed to normalize bilateral relations, including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against Israeli soldiers.

Thanks to Obama's efforts, Netanyahu changed his hardline position on Turkey. He made a phone call to his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, and apologized for an incident in May 2010, during which a number of Turks were killed when Israeli soldiers stormed the Gaza-bound aid flotilla. The change of attitude laid foundation for Israel and Turkey to further ease bilateral relations.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiangJun、Wang Jinxue)

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wende at 2013-03-2598.109.105.*
Obama's trip can be judged from the amount of time he spent in the 3 countries. 60% in Israel, 30% in Jordan and 10% in Palestine.

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