Obama to visit Israel in spring in possible Mid-East peace push
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama plans to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this spring, the White House said on Tuesday, raising the prospects of a new United States push to restart long-stalled Israel-Palestinian peace efforts.
Mr Obama's trip, his first to Israel since taking office, signalled that he intends to make the volatile Middle East - where Iran remains locked in a nuclear standoff with the West and Syria is caught up in a bloody civil war - a top priority in his second term.
While the White House gave no exact dates for the trip, Israel's Channel 10 television station cited unnamed sources in Washington saying Mr Obama would visit the Jewish state on March 20.
The choice of Israel for Mr Obama's first foreign travel since his Jan 21 inauguration will give the president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to repair their notoriously fractious relationship and seek common ground on confronting the region's troubles.