More:White House Blog
Today, President Barack Obama concluded his visit to Israel and the West Bank, the first stops on his first foreign trip of his second term in office.
On March 20, President Obama's visit commenced with an arrival ceremony at the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, where he discussed the significance of the United States-Israel relationship. “We stand together because peace must come to the Holy Land. For even as we are clear-eyed about the difficulty, we will never lose sight of the vision of an Israel at peace with its neighbors.”
During the visit, President Obama met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. President Obama announced the beginning of discussions to extend Israeli military assistance and additional funding of the Iron Dome.
On March 21, President Obama traveled to the West Bank, where he held meetings in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad and attended a cultural event at Al-Bireh Youth Center. Secretary of State John Kerry joined him in these meetings.
“I've returned to the West Bank because the United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine,” President Obama said in a joint press conference with President Abbas. “Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope -- that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity. Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own.”
Later that day, the President addressed the Israeli people at the Jerusalem Convention Center, where he called for recognition of the “the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and justice.”
On March 22, President Obama attended wreath laying ceremonies at Mount Herzl at the grave sites of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin. He also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and participated in a wreath laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. He had lunch with had lunch with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and then toured the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Abbas.
President Obama continues his travel in the Middle East with a visit to Jordan, where he will arrive later today. Go to www.whitehouse.gov/middle-east-trip-2013 to see the complete schedule of the President's trip and to watch video of the President's remarks in Israel.