the president himself has such low expectations of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders he will be meeting, after they repeatedly disappointed him in his first term, that he no longer believes much can be achieved on the peace front. So why wait? Better to get the visit over and done with, demonstrate he is a lover of Zion, deprive his Republican adversaries of an effective talking point, and move on to greener Asian pastures.
That cynical view of the purposes of the Obama White House overlooks one critical objective that the president can achieve on this visit. He can reintroduce himself to the Israeli public as the American leader who does care deeply about their security and well-being, will be – as he has already been – in the trenches with them when the chips are down, means what he says when he vows that he will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, AND will be their reliable partner in the effort to resolve their existential conflict with the Palestinians.