WASHINGTON – President Shimon Peres urged members of Congress on Wednesday to
ensure that America supports the democratic forces and struggling economies in
the Arab world, so that a moment of opportunity will not be lost.
believe that the awakening of the Arab world is a great opportunity and that all
of us should do whatever we can [to help],” Peres said following a meeting with
House leaders before heading over to the Senate. “The moment that the Arab world
will become free and open and peaceful it will be a major change in the world
experience and in the annals of the Middle East.”
He spoke standing
alongside Republicans House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric
Cantor, and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. As Democrats and
Republicans lock horns over the US federal budget amid a looming government
shutdown, the unity was a rare public display in honor of the Israeli
Peres thanked them for their bipartisan support, and for
America’s strong backing for the Jewish state based on shared values and
“No matter who is in power in the United States, we speak with
one voice in our support for Israel, no matter who is in power in Israel,”
Cantor described the meeting as “very productive,” adding,
“We understand that the road toward peace is still a very rough one, and the
search for a partner in peace for Israel in the Middle East is still
Peres acknowledged the difficulties that lay ahead at as
appearance at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. He was
the guest of honor at the event, where he was interviewed on stage by Wolf
Blitzer of CNN.
“It is a possibility, not a certainty,” he said of the
prospects for peace. He hinted at a possible path towards progress though he
didn’t elaborate. “I think there is an attempt to achieve it, but I wouldn’t go
into details, and I wouldn’t give up the hope that we can reopen
Peres also pointed to the implications the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process has for what happens in surrounding countries
and how neighbors perceive Israel.
“This conflict may color the final
results of the revolution of the young generation,” he said.