ISRAEL – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will continue his five-day, fact-finding trip to Israel on Wednesday with a scheduled meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister.
It’s a trip that also includes sitdowns with other senior government officials, tours of Holy sites and meetings with business and energy leaders.
“It’s learning to see if there’s a pathway to peace,” said Manchin of the trip, from Israel, on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“Basically, it’s for me to understand the very complex environment over here and that we’re very much involved in, the United States, with our greatest ally, Israel.”
Manchin’s trip was organized through the American Israel Education Foundation. Accompanying him on the trip is Rabbi Victor Urecki who has served as rabbi and spiritual leader of B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston since 1986.
Earlier in the week, Manchin met with Rami Hamdallah, Palestine’s prime minister and he had several other meetings scheduled before the end of the trip on Friday.
His trip comes less than a month after a nine-month deadline for U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority passed with no agreement. The U.S. has supported a two state solution.
“Whether people believe that we (the U.S.) should or should not (be involved), we’re here. We’re involved,” Manchin said. “Israel is our ally. They are the best investment we have in this part of the world, can you help us try to find a pathway to peace and stabilization over here?”
Pope Francis visited the region last week. During that trip, he invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders to travel to the Vatican next month to pray for peace.