- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2013

The White House took care on Wednesday to clarify that President Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel — a first for the second-term president — is not intended as a stepping stone to broker peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the visit is simply timed to recognize the second starting terms of both Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who recently won at the polls and subsequently named a resumption in talks with PA officials a top priority, according to Israel National News.

“Whenever the president and the prime minister speak, and certainly every time the president speaks with Palestinian Authority leaders, these issues come up,” said Mr. Carney, according to Israel National News. “[But] this is not the purpose of this visit.”

Meanwhile, Israel National News reports, PA leaders said Wednesday they are looking to Mr. Obama’s trip with hope that it “will lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian lands occupied since 1967.”

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