It was kiss-and-make-up time as the US president met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
The two vowed to start over after four years of snubs, insults and backstabbing.
Obama used his host’s nickname “Bibi” 10 times at a press conference; Netanyahu thanked him for sparing the time to meet him more than any other foreign leader on his four-day Middle East tour.
Forgotten were the icy photo-calls in the Oval Office and Netanyahu’s backing for Obama’s presidential rival Mitt Romney last year. The Israeli-US friendship, was underscored when the nuclear threat from Iran came up: “We’ve got your back,” promised Obama.
He also reversed a passage of an infamous speech that suggested Israel was founded mainly as a response to the Second World War Holocaust.
He declared: “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 and pogroms and even genocide.”
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu have settled their differences
Obama and Netanyahu vowed to start over after four years of snubs, insults and backstabbing.
He denounced Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorists. They dismissed him as an employee of the “Zionist entity”.
The atmosphere was far chillier when Obama spent barely four hours in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas stood stony-faced as Obama refused to condemn Israel’s West Bank settlements, branding them mere “irritants” while Palestinians see them as illegal and an obstacle to peace. He reiterated that the US wanted a peaceful co-existence of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Obama ended his tour with a trip to Jordan, sightseeing in the historic city of Petra.
He also took the chance to make a speech critical of Syria’s President Assad.