On Thursday, President Obama indicated there would be no discussion about a peace initiative for the Middle East when he travels later in March to Israel for the first time since he became President of the United States.
As part of his preparation for his trip, Obama met with Jewish community leaders in the U.S. this week at the White House. His trip did not have a goal of resolving just one specific issue of policy, said one White House official.
Previously the Obama administration had taken steps to quiet rumors that the president would use this visit to push the U.S. led effort to find peace between the Palestinians and Israel, following a failure of an initiative during Obama’s first term.
However, White House officials are setting up the trip as a way to reconnect with Benjamin Netanyahu the Prime Minister of Israel, with whom the president has had a rather delicate relationship from the time he took office in 2009 and to coordinate with Israel over key issues such as Syria and Iran.
One official at the White House said that President Obama had reiterated the country’s unshakeable support for the country of Israel and thanked the Israeli leaders for their strengthening of ties between the two countries.
A list of the Jewish Community leaders that took part in the meeting with Obama at the White House was not immediately provided. The meeting was not on the public schedule of President Obama.
Marc Stanley, one of the participants, is the chairman for the National Jewish Democratic Council. He concurred that President Obama said there would be discussions in Israel over Iran, Syria and the peace process.