WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Obama is planning on visiting Israel in the spring.

White House officials tell The Associated Press that Obama has spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the visit.

The Times of Israel reports that Obama will also visit Palestinian territories.

Advance security teams are reportedly in Israel ahead of the planned visit.

Obama and Netanyahu agreed to the visit on a Jan. 28 phone call as the U.S. looks to restart peace talks “without preconditions” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Obama has been criticized for not visiting Israel while in office. He did go to Jerusalem in 2008 while he was running for president.

The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu has deteriorated over the past year as the two clashed over how to deal with Iran and Israeli settlements.

The White House wants to use diplomatic measures to deal with Iran’s nuclear program while Israel hinted at launching a military strike. Obama also asked Israel to stop building settlements in disputed Palestinian territories, angering Israeli officials.

The visit could come as early as next month.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


Leave a Reply