Posted by Politico on March 11, 2013 in News Clips

President Obama met Monday with a number of Arab American groups in advance of his trip to the Middle East next week, according to a statement released first to POLITICO.

"We are pleased to have shared with President Obama our recommendations for the vital message that he should convey to the Palestinian people. Today’s meeting was an important opportunity for Arab Americans to share our views, and continue to serve as a bridge between the US and the Arab world. Our meeting underscored the President's recognition of the importance of our community's contributions to discussions of policy in the region," four groups said in a joint statement following the meeting.

Obama met with representatives from American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Federation of Ramallah Palestine, American Task Force for Palestine, Arab American Institute.

The meeting was in advance of Obama's scheduled trip to Israel — the first of his presidency. He and Secretary of State John Kerry are expected to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process during Obama's first trip to the Jewish state.

"The United States, through sustained, balanced, constructive engagement, can facilitate a peaceful, lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–a resolution that is essential to long-term security in the Middle East. We thank President Obama for engaging Arab American leaders in this critical dialog, and we look forward to using this meeting as a springboard for robust ongoing conversations on US policy in the Middle East," the groups said in a statement.

Obama hasn't engaged much in peace process negotiations since early in his term. His relationship with Israel's conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soured over the hot-button issue of increase Israeli settlements in land that Palestinians consider the home of their future state.

Original Article
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