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Originally published at Tikkun Daily |

According to reports from Channel 10 in Israel (which have been confirmed by the White House), President Obama will visit Israel for the first time in his presidency on March 20. The visit, to take place the week before Passover, is being billed by the White House as a way to "reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel."

However, according to Israel's Channel 10, Washington received assurances from the Israeli government that Obama would be able to engage in "large-scale efforts" related to the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians during his visit.

It remains to be seen just how serious such efforts will be, and how public such efforts will be made if indeed Obama engages in serious dialogue between both sides. However, one thing seems clear: with a new Israeli government to be formed, the White House finally seems serious about trying to renew its role in peace talks.

Given the Obama Administration's consistent rejection of Palestinian efforts to gain an upgraded status in both the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly, it will be difficult for Obama to make headway with both sides. However, after the UNGA resoundingly voted to grant Palestine non-member state status at the U.N., with many of America's closest allies either abstaining or voting for Palestinian statehood, perhaps an opening for progress exits. For the Western World is steadily shifting away from America's unbalanced position. A shift the Obama administration undoubtedly feels beneath its feet.

Update: According to the White House's Jay Carney, Obama will also visit the West Bank and Jordan.
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