A missile show-and-tell, dinner with Shimon Peres and a quick tour of Bethlehem: the itinerary of Barack Obama's Middle East visit takes shape

The American President will meet both Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas during his tour of Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Like a tourist with a long list of things to do and not enough time to do them, Barack Obama is planning a packed schedule when he arrives in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories next Wednesday for a 48 hour visit that some are hoping will kick start the stalled peace process.

As well the usual official dinners, speeches and meetings, the whole region will be watching to see whether American president - who is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories for the first time as president – can provide the impetus for fresh talks between the two sides.

Mr Obama is set to arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport at around noon next Wednesday. After no doubt being spared the usual security screening, he is to be whisked off to inspect a battery of Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ missile defence system.

The battery is being moved up to Ben-Gurion, where they are not normally stationed, to save some precious time. Israeli military officials are keen to show off their hardware which has apparently proved hugely successful – however, they will no doubt be more than a little miffed by a report recently published by Professor Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who suggests that the defence system's success rate may have been “drastically lower” than the 84 per cent claimed by the Israeli military during the recent war with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.

The President will then take the 45 minute drive along Israel’s Highway 1 to Jerusalem and immediately call in on Israel’s President, Shimon Peres. That meeting will no doubt be easier than the subsequent session with Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s residence on the city’s Balfour Street, given their famously icy relationship.

Exactly which sites Mr Obama will then visit is still subject to some debate. An advance delegation of 50 US diplomats, security personnel and other officials arrived in Israel on Sunday to discuss the finer details. White House and the US Secret Service visited Mr Peres’s residence on Tuesday. “They examined and measured every corner, and left nothing to chance,” said Israel’s presidential residence director general Efrat Duvdevani. “They wanted to know where each person would be standing in the course of the ceremony, how many steps the president would have to take from his car into the building, where the speeches would be delivered and where the catering would be positioned.”

What is agreed is that Mr Obama will take part in an official dinner at President Peres’s residence on Wednesday and then retire to the King David hotel in central Jerusalem, where he will no doubt be asked to add his signature to the polished floor, joining scores of other world leaders and celebrities who have previously spent the night at the hotel.

On the Thursday, the Mr Obama will be shown the Dead Sea Scrolls, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum, and Israel’s national cemetery, where Yitzhak Rabin, the former Israeli prime minister who was assassinated in 1995, is buried.

The visit changes tact on Friday when the president takes his roadshow to the Palestinian territories and visits the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah. Mr Abbas, who has previously expressed his anger with Mr Obama after the US voted against the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations last November, is likely to raise the issue of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

And then finally it’s off to Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity – which the UN recognised as a world heritage site after the Palestinians won the UN vote, before heading back to Ben-Gurion for an official farewell ceremony.

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Senior Networks Architect

£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...

SAP BW/BO Consultant

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...

Hydraulic Power Pack Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices