Israel, West Bank in preparations for first official Obama visit
Monday, March 18, 2013 - 01:27
March 18 - Preparations were underway in Jerusalem for U.S. President Barack Obama’s first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, in talks designed to help the U.S. president improve ties after sometimes rocky relations with both sides during his first term in office. Mana Rabiee reports.
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Rolling out the red carpet.
Preparations were underway in Jerusalem Monday to welcome Barack Obama.
He arrives Wednesday for a three day visit to Israel, the occupied West Bank and Jordan, where he'll meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Nadav Tamir is foreign policy advisor to Israeli President Shimon Peres.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NADAV TAMIR, FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES, SAYING:
"The meeting between them is going to be very heavy. I would say loaded with the issues of the times."
Israel has beefed up security, deploying over 15,000 police.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI POLICE FOREIGN MEDIA SPOKESMAN MIKI ROSENFELD SAYING:
"There are no specific warnings that we've received in connection with the important visit, this being the most important and significant visit here in Israel since President Bush's visit here in 2008 and the Pope's visit in 2009".
But no red carpet in the West Bank, where Palestinians protested his upcoming visit Monday.
They're angry over what they say are broken promises from a man they no longer trust.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MUNZIR AMEERA A RESIDENT OF BETHLEHEM SAYING:
"Any person or leader who belittles the abilities of the Palestinian people and their rights, this is his fate. We are people with rights and we tell the President Obama you are not welcome in Bethlehem."
It's Obama's first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
He's looking to improve ties with both sides, after sometimes rocky relations during his first term.
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