Berlin’s “Victory Column” will be the setting for a speech today by the man many Europeans want to see as the next president of the United States.
The iconic Brandenburg Gate proved too controversial a backdrop for the as-yet unelected Barack Obama to make his address.
At the compromise venue, there has already been a security alert. A man drove his car through a barricade, apparently trying to pour paint around the column. It is not known why.
It is the Middle East leg of the Democratic candidate’s tour that many back home have been following closely.
Obama has assured Israel and its US Jewish supporters that he is a friend who won’t press for peace concessions compromising its security.
He expressed solidarity with the people of Sderot, a regular target for rocket fire from Gaza. And, in the West Bank, a meeting with Palestinian leaders remained low-profile.
Last month, Obama dismayed the Palestinians by saying Jerusalem should be Israel’s “undivided” capital. He has, however, stressed his belief that its final status should be determined through peace negotiations.