JERUSALEM, Israel -- 1:50 a.m. local time --
The Obama campaign just informed the reporters traveling with him that his senior foreign policy adviser, Susan Rice, will brief reporters today (Wednesday) on Obama's meeting Tuesday with King Abdullah of Jordan and on his upcoming meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders will be on-the-record.
The campaign also assured reporters there will be more opportunities to question Obama directly as the trip continues.
Obama has a jam-packed day Wednesday. It starts with a visit to Yad Vasham (the Holocaust museum here) then a meeting with a family living in Sderot, the community at the northern tip of the Gaza Strip that has suffered for seven years --but more so in recent years -- from Qassam rockets fired by Palestinians. Obama, his advisers said, is to obtain an understanding of the hardships Israeli families in Sderot have suffered through. He will travel to Sderot by helicopter with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
According to Israeli figures, 13 residents of Sderot have died from Qassam rocket attacks in the past seven years, with four deaths counted this year. Israeli retaliation in the densely populated Gaza Strip has left hundreds of Palestinians dead since the Qassam attacks began. A cease and the presence of Israeli Army helicopters overhead is expected to make Obama's visit trouble-free.
From Sderot, Obama will meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu and then travel by car to Ramallah in the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salem Fayad. Obama will also meet with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. The campaign is contemplating an Obama visit to the Western Wall, but it is not currently on the schedule. The fact that Obama, according to an aide, "really wants to do it," suggests this will, in fact, happen.