US president Barack Obama will be given Israel's presidential medal of distinction upon his visit to the country this spring, the office of Israeli president Shimon Peres announced Monday.
In a statement, the office lauded the president for his loyalty and friendship to the country, which has illegally occupied the Palestinian territories through lethal military force for decades and has come under increased condemnation from a growing international community.
"President Obama has made a unique and meaningful contribution to strengthening the state of Israel and the security of its people," the office said in a statement.
"Barack Obama is a true friend of the state of Israel and has been since the beginning of his public life. As president of the United States he has stood beside Israel in times of crisis," it added.
Obama will visit both Israel and the West Bank this spring, although no dates have been announced.
And as Agence France-Presse reports, "The White House has kept expectations deliberately low, saying Obama has no plans to use the trip to push new proposals to break the more than two-year deadlock in peace talks."
Last June, Obama presented Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, at the White House.