Speaking on the U.S. and Iran, President Peres , who received a lifetime achievement award from AIPAC, had this to say:
"President Obama made it clear that the U.S. will not permit Iran to become nuclear," Peres said, adding that Obama has also made it clear that "all options are on the table".
Then going on to talk about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel Peres had this comment:
"Mr. President, I know your commitment to Israel is deep and profound," Peres said. "Under your leadership, security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel has reached its highest level (vb1 emphasis).. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a friend in the White House. He reflects the values that make American great and make Israel secure. Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people."
According to a recent Jerusalem Post poll, the Israeli people seem to agree with him as they (like their diaspora Jewish brothers and sisters here in the U.S.) favor President Obama over ALL of his Republican challengers.
speaking right after President Peres added the following:
"We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically," Obama said in an address at the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC's policy conference in Washington. "Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say."
"That includes all elements of American power. A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency."
Unlike his Rightwing opponents though both here in the U.S.and in Israel the President urged caution and responsible action:
"Already, there is too much loose talk of war," Obama said. "Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, but carry a big stick."
Again, even the Israeli public agrees with President Obama as ONLY 19% of them favor a strike on the Iran happening without U.S. backing.
As for the Presidents messages of Peace and the Two State Solution, President Peres had this to say:
"The Palestinians are our neighbors for life," Peres said. "Peace can and must be achieved. A peace based on a two-state solution, a Jewish state - Israel, and an Arab state - Palestine."
"We want to preserve an Israel that is Jewish, democratic and attractive. I meet from time to time with President Abbas and PM [Salam] Fayyad. They need and want peace. I believe that peace is possible. They are our partners for peace. Not Hamas."
Apparently President Peres did not get the memo from Republicans, ODS'ers. Israeli Rightists and U.S. ChickenHawk bloggers that the P.A. will not make Peace with Israel. Now, in fairness to that group (although g-d knows, they don't deserve it) the Palestinian Authority IS making peace negotiations difficult with their insistence on the full return of East Jerusalem and their refusal to curb the rampant anti-Semitism in their ranks, NOT to mention their continued efforts to bring Hamas into their government. Yet, so far the attempts to bring in Hamas have resulted in failure and the P.A. has still admitted it's willingness to go to the table and hammer out a Peace deal.
In this passage though I think President Obama "nails it" (so to speak):
"I make no apologies for pursuing peace. Israel’s own leaders understand the necessity of peace," Obama said. "Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, Defense Minister [Ehud] Barak, and President Peres – each of them have called for two states, a secure Israel that lives side by side with an independent Palestinian state."
"I believe that peace is profoundly in Israel’s security interest. The reality that Israel faces - from shifting demographics, to emerging technologies, to an extremely difficult international environment - demands a resolution of this issue. And I believe that peace with the Palestinians is consistent with Israel’s founding values - because of our shared belief in self-determination; and because Israel’s place as a Jewish and democratic state must be protected."
YES! Exactly, because it vital to protect Israel as a Jewish, and Democratic State. And as the great statesman Abba Eban and others have stated that Israel can only be Two of the Three following things:
1. Israel can be a Jewish State
2. Israel can be a Democratic State
3. Israel can be a State from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea
The President gets that in the long term interests of Israel - it must maintain it's Jewish character while recognizing that it's Palestinian neighbors also have the legitimate right to self determination.
Meanwhile, back in Israel, never one to be left out of the spotlight, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had told reporters that "Israel will decide independently whether to strike Iran". If that is the case (and it certainly is Israel's right to do that), then I guess that they will also decide if they want U.S. aid in that strike as well. Perhaps the Foreign Minister should listen to 81% of his people when they tell him... DON'T STRIKE W/OUT THE U.S.
Now the question hinges on what will PM Benyamin Netanyahu say. Further what will the meeting on March 5th (tomorrow) bring? We are in for a few very interesting days as the AIPAC conference continues along and Israeli and U.S. leaders meet.
One other important thing of note: In Iran today, President Ahmadinejhad has met with defeat at the polls. While the choice was between hard line candidates Ahmadinejhad's candidates were soundly defeated by those supporting the Grand Ayatollah Khameni. What does this mean for everyone else? Not a lot in the sense that the new group coming in are just as dedicated to Iranian Nuclear Power and regional hegemony as Ahmadinejhad HOWEVER, they are far more rational than the President who many in Iran consider a "loose cannon" (my words).
Also with relation to Iran - not only do their proxies in Hizbollah control the Lebanese/Israel Border but according to the Washington Post (as reported in Haaretz) there are Iranian advisors on the ground in Syria aiding in the slaughter of it's own citizens by Dictator Bashar Assad.