JERUSALEM — The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to brand US President Barack Obama's visit "Operation Unbreakable Alliance."
"Obama’s trip to Israel will be run like a military operation in most every way. It even has a code name: Unbreakable Alliance in English, and Brit Amim (A Covenant of Peoples) in Hebrew," commented Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
"The Prime Minister’s Office came up with a large number of creative ideas for the American president’s visit, but diplomatic protocol combined with ceremonies, speeches and a heavy schedule of meetings have made such initiatives largely irrelevant."
GlobalPost's Senior Correspondent in Israel Noga Tarnopolsky said the unveiling of Operation Unbreakable Alliance signals Netanyahu's nervousness about the way Obama's upcoming trip to Israel may be perceived by the media.
"I think by now its safe to say that everyone knows the Obama-Netanyahu relationship has not been a happy one," Tarnopolsky said. "Netanyahu was weakend by the last elections and it is very likely that he will receive Obama on March 20 without a new government in hand. He needs this trip to go well very, very badly."
If it goes well, she said, it could burnish Netanyahu's claim as the only legitimate candidate for prime minister.
"But Netanyahu and his team are gaffe-prone and uneasy right now — and I'd say "Operation Unbreakable Alliance" is one sign that they are concerned things may not follow their desired narrative," Tarnopolsky added.
Netanyahu won a smaller than expected victory in elections in January. In the run up to the American elections last November, Netanyahu was perceived as favoring Republican nominee Mitt Romney for president and Obama and Netanyahu have had a tense relationship from the beginning of Obama's presidency.
The office of Israeli President Shimon Peres announced Monday that Obama would be presented with the Presidential Medal of Distinction in March, according to the Guardian.
It would recognize Obama's "unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens."
The prime minister's official Facebook page offers these three choices for logos to represent Obama's visit:
Though neither government has confirmed dates for the visit, Israeli media has been reporting that it will be from March 20 to 22, according to Agence France Presse. The White House has reiterated that Obama is not bringing any peace proposals with him on his trip.
Netanyahu said Sunday that his talks with Obama would focus on Iran's nuclear program, Syria and the Palestinian peace talks.