First stop Israel for president's trip to Mideast

Posted at 5:04 PM, Mar 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-19 18:19:21-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is en route to Israel.

This is his second trip to the Middle East as U.S. commander in chief. His first trip to the region came shortly after assuming office in 2009.

U.S. officials have set expectations low for the trip. They have presented the president's visit to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan as symbolic.

Obama will be joined by Secretary of State John Kerry. The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem said Kerry was set to arrive Tuesday, a day before Obama. The embassy gave no details on Kerry's schedule Tuesday, but Israeli officials said no meetings were scheduled.