March 20, 2013
The alliance between Israel and the United States is eternal, Barack Obama has said after landing in the Jewish state for his first visit since becoming US president more than four years ago.
“I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations, to restate America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and to speak directly to the people of Israel and to your neighbours,” Obama said at a welcoming ceremony at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. “I am confident in declaring that our alliance is eternal, is forever,” he added.
In a short speech before Israeli parliamentarians, religious leaders, military figures and other dignitaries, Obama said: “We will never lose sight of the vision of an Israel at peace with its neighbours.” The Palestinians were not mentioned by name.
Air Force One touched down at about 12.30pm local time in glorious spring sunshine that prompted the president to discard his jacket shortly after the end of the ceremonials. His visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories is scheduled to last 50 hours before the 600-strong entourage departs for Jordan on Friday.
This article was posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 11:53 am