United States Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama visited Jerusalem and Ramallah on Wednesday meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and other dignitaries.
While in Jerusalem, Obama met with President Shimon Peres and stated that the security of Israel will be of great importance to his administration if elected. Obama stated in a meeting with Peres that "I'm here on this trip to reaffirm the special relationship between Israel and the United States and my abiding commitment to Israel's security and my hope that I can serve as an effective partner, whether as a U.S. senator or as president,"Obama also expressed his deep concern about the conflict and if elected would start working towards a solution to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
While in Jerusalem, presidential hopeful met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the David King Hotel, as well as Benjamin Netanyahu, where they both expressed the importance of preventing Iran from becoming a prominent nuclear force. He then visited Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and following that ceremony he met with President Shimon Peres.
The presidential candidate took a trip to the West Bank city of Ramallah where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. During the meeting, President Abbas briefed Obama of the peace process and the security situation for the Palestinians. The men discussed the key issues facing Palestinians including Jerusalem, the wall, refugees, settlements, water, and security.
Obama declared a full commitment to peace and security in the region, for Palestine and Israel. He declared to President Abbas that if he is elected, he will be a constructive partner for peace for this region. He also stated that security and peace for Palestine and Israel are vital American interests and talked about a possible two state solution and is committed to help President Abbas this two state solution become a reality by the end of this year. Obama got to see the wall and the road blocks on his trip to Ramallah, said a spokesperson.
Obama stated that decisions are required from Palestinians and Israelis and not from America. "The substance of the meeting was more important than the time," said a spokesperson. "The meeting left us feeling well about his [Obama's] commitment to peace." Obama stated that "it is not about pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian at this point, it is about Pro-peace and is divided with those who are pro-peace and those who are not." When asked how his meeting with Abbas went, Obama's response was simply "Excellent!"