Kerry arrives in Israel, paving the way for Obama visit. PM says new government will pursue deal with Palestinians. Obama’s Middle East map erases Israeli territory

March 19th, 2013. Kerry arrives in Israel, paving the way for Obama visit. Herb Keinon, Jpost.  

“US Secretary of State John Kerry was set to arrive in Israel on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., some 19 hours before US President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.

Kerry does not have any meetings planned before the arrival of the president, whom he will accompany during his 50 hour trip to Israel and the West Bank.

On Friday, the secretary of state will travel with Obama to Jordan, but then unlike Obama who will fly from Jordan back to Washington, Kerry is scheduled to return to Israel for a Saturday night dinner meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to follow up on the president’s trip. He will leave Israel later that night.”

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.  

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March 16th, 2013. ‘Obama is serious about peace commitment’.  Hilary Leila Krieger, Jpost.  

“US President Barack Obama will be listening for “serious commitments” from Israeli and Palestinian leaders on moving toward peace during his trip to the Middle East this week, the White House said Friday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained that in the president’s meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama would be “having conversations with them about what kind of serious commitments they’re willing to make to advance the peace process.”

Earnest said that only face-to-face negotiations would achieve a resolution to the conflict, and that the US government was “willing to continue to play a facilitating role” in those, but he stressed that it would be hard to get to direct talks that can make real progress if “unilateral actions” such as settlement activity and Palestinian appeals to the UN go on.

Earnest declined to comment on the new formulation of the Israeli government and how that would affect America’s view of Israeli policy and settlement building.”

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March 19th, 2013.  Ties with Netanyahu very strong, says Abdullah. Jpost staff.

Jordanian King Abdullah in a series of exclusive interviews with American magazine The Atlantic said that his relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “very strong,” and that their discussions “have really improved.”

The interview follows media reports that surfaced at the beginning of March quoting sources as saying Netanyahu and Abdullah met in Jordan. The Prime Minister’s Office neither confirmed nor denied the report.

“It could be too late already for the two-state solution,” he said. “I don’t know. Part of me is worried that is already past us.”

Speaking on an alternative, he responded to his interviewer with one single word: “Israstine,” referring to a word popularized by the late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to describe a joint Arab-Jewish state.

He added that “apartheid or democracy” would be Israel’s options if two independent states were not created side by side in reference to the so called one state solution.”

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March 18th, 2013. PM says new government will pursue deal with Palestinians. The

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that his new government was extending its hand in peace to the Palestinians, declaring that he was ready to make a “historic compromise” if they return to the negotiating table with good will.

Laying out the agenda for his new term, Netanyahu said he hopes to rejuvenate peace efforts, which remained frozen throughout the four-year term Netanyahu just completed.

Netanyahu spoke before a ceremony to install his new coalition government, stitched together after nearly six weeks of negotiations following Israel’s January 22 parliamentary election. The new team, made up of hard-liners and moderates, appears to be focused more on domestic issues than peacemaking.

Netanyahu struck the conciliatory tone ahead of the arrival of US President Barack Obama, who will hold separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. But he spoke in generalities and gave no details on any possible concrete concessions.

“We stretch out our hand in peace to the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said. “Israel has proven time and again it is ready for concessions in exchange for real peace, and the situation today is no different.”

“With a Palestinian partner that is willing to hold negotiations in good will, Israel will be ready for a historic compromise that will end the conflict with the Palestinians once and for all,” he said.

Netanyahu said Obama’s visit would be an opportunity to thank the American people and its leader for the steadfast relationship. He said he’ll discuss with Obama “the great challenges facing our two peoples” and plans to work with him in the next four years toward peace and to meet the regional challenges.

“There are certain opportunities… (and) the government will have to show enough courage” to counter the challenges and seize the opportunities, he said. “We’ll never forget the heavy responsibility on our shoulders to ensure the future of our people.”

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March 18th, 2013. Obama’s Middle East Map Erases Israeli Territory. Washington Free Beacon Staff.

“The map of the Middle East displayed in an Obama administration video released days before President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel shows the Jewish state dispossessed of substantial parts of its current territory, including its capital.

The map of Israel, displayed repeatedly during the video, shows the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, northern Israel, and areas surrounding what is currently the West Bank as non-Israeli territory. The Golan Heights is shown as part of Syria; Jerusalem is shown as part of the West Bank; and northern Israel is shown as part of Lebanon.

The itinerary on the White House website also implies that Jerusalem is neither Israel’s capital nor even part of Israel.

The president’s schedule lists two stops in “Tel Aviv, Israel” and one in “Amman, Jordan” but his activities in Israel’s capital city are identified as taking place only in “Jerusalem” — with no country name attached. This keeps with a reluctantly-acknowledged administration policy of denying that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital or even a part of Israel.”

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