Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren says President Obama's upcoming trip to Israel sends a message just as the Middle East is reaching a “boiling point.”
“It's coming right as the boiling point is around the Middle East," Oren said, suggesting that the trip would serve as both an assurance to the people of Israel and a reminder to the broader Middle East that the bond between Israel and the United States is "unbreakable."
Oren noted that presidential visits to Israel not as frequent as many would expect given the two countries’ unique relationship. "Keep in mind that George Bush before him only came in the last six months of his second term. President Reagan never came at all," he said.
The status of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has been a major focus in the lead-up to the trip. It was reported last week that President Obama told American Jewish leaders that he would not try to re-open peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians while on his trip. However, he suggested he hoped to do so within six months to a year.
"We wish it would take a lot less than a year,” Oren said. “We want to restart the negotiations not tomorrow, but today."
He added that Israel is open to direct talks with the Palestinians without preconditions, they just need to get the other side back to the negotiation table.
Watch David's entire interview with Michael Oren above to hear more from the Ambassador about the details of President Obama's first trip to Israel as Commander-in-Chief, which historic landmarks he will visit, and the broader Middle East landscape.