This Wednesday, President Barack Obama will step into the political cauldron of the Middle East, but he will not be looking for a big resolution for the vexing problems of the region.
Obama’s goal will be an attempt to keep the region’s troubles – the nuclear program in Iran and the discord between the Palestinians and Israelis – from reaching a boiling point during his second term as president.
On Wednesday, Obama will be in Jerusalem to start his trip, the first trip he has made to Israel as U.S. President. His top priority is to reset this rocky relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, while evaluating the coalition government cobbled together by the Prime Minister and his party.
Obama is also going to look at trying to boost his appeal amongst the Israeli public that has been skeptical of him.
White House advisors saw little if any reason for Obama to visit Israel during his first term since they felt there was little possibility of a peace accord between Palestinians and Israelis.
However, after the one attempt by the president for a U.S. brokered agreement was thwarted during his first term in office and both sides currently at even more odds, the White House believes it is time to shift its thinking.
Officials believe with Netanyahu in his own backyard will ease some of the friction between the two. Obama wants to have frank conversations with both sides to attempt to return to the negotiating table.
In addition, the Iran problem has created tension as well, as leaders of Israel said they could take some form of action to protect themselves, if Iran does not stop its nuclear program.