Itongadol.- US President Barack Obama was set to wind up his first presidential trip to Israel on Friday with visits to the graves of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin.
Obama: Israel´s existence will prevent another Holocaust
Obama was scheduled to lay wreaths at the graves of the founder of Zionism, and the slain prime minister, who has become a symbol for the peace process, before touring the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
He will have a final meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who he previously met with for some three-hours on Wednesday.
He will then travel to the West Bank town of Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born, in what is seen as a message of solidarity to dwindling Christian communities in a turbulent region.
The US president will then travel to Amman, where he will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II. Obama\’s talks with Abdullah are expected to focus on the civil war in neighboring Syria and the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace diplomacy.
The president\’s visit to the desert kingdom is aimed at reassuring Abdullah of Washington\’s support at a time when it is flooded with refugees from the violence in Syria, and battling economic difficulties and tensions from the "Arab Spring" upheaval in the region, aides say.
Obama and Abdullah will consult extensively on the spillover of the Syrian conflict to Jordan, where an influx of more than 350,000 refugees has further strained the resources of a country that has almost no oil. Washington has provided some aid to alleviate the humanitarian situation.
Obama backs the Syrian opposition\’s effort to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, but has limited its support to non-lethal aid to anti-government rebels despite growing calls from European and Arab allies to take a stronger tack.
The king has taken a mostly cautious line on Syria, calling for Assad to go, but advocating a "political solution" and not arming the Syrian leader\’s foes. Jordanian authorities worry that any emergence of Islamist rule in a post-Assad Syria could embolden Islamists who are the main opposition group in Jordan.
Also on the agenda will be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Obama appealed directly on Thursday to the Israeli people to put themselves in the shoes of stateless Palestinians and recognize that Jewish settlement activity hurts prospects for peace.
He began his speech to Israeli students at the Jerusalem International Convention Center by referencing a theme that has marked his entire visit: paying homage to the Jewish people’s deep ties to the land.
“For the Jewish people, the journey to the promise of the State of Israel wound through countless generations. It involved centuries of suffering and exile, prejudice, pogroms and even genocide. Through it all, the Jewish people sustained their unique identity and traditions, as well as a longing to return home. And while Jews achieved extraordinary success in many parts of the world, the dream of true freedom finally found its full expression in the Zionist idea – to be a free people in your homeland.”