Senator Obama spent a hot, dusty Tuesday in Jordan on the heel end of his fact-finding mission to Afghanistan and Iraq. He arrived in Amman this afternoon with two fellow senators, Jack Reed (D-RI) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE). The trio cleaned up a bit after their journey before heading to the ancient ruins of the Amman Citadel to hold a press conference on their observations before the world press. Senator Obama then went to the Palace of His Majesty, King Abdullah, to have a private one-on-one meeting before his Senate colleagues joined them for dinner.
From Jordan, Obama flew to Jerusalem. After landing at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday night, Obama stated, “I will share some of my ideas. The most important idea for me to reaffirm is the historic and special relationship between the United States and Israel, one that cannot be broken.” He pledged staunch support for Israel and stated that if elected, he would work to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process. As part of his overseas tour, Obama met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Later in the day, he saw President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Obama in Jordan: First Press Conference of Foreign Tour
Senator Obama also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Wearing a white yarmulke, he rekindled a flame and paused for a few moments of quiet reflection as he laid a wreath on a tomb that contains ashes from the Nazi extermination camps. “At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise from tragedy and remake our world,” Mr. Obama said after visiting the memorial.
“Let our children come here, and know this history, so they can add their voices to proclaim ‘never again. And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.”