Peres 311 reuters.
(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON – President Shimon Peres is due to leave for Washington Sunday night
and is due to arrive in the US Monday for a multi-day trip to Washington and New
York that will include a meeting with US President Barack
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Ostensibly in the US to address the American Israeli Political
Activity Committee Conference, Peres will have a working lunch with Obama on
Tuesday. They are expected to address US-Israel security cooperation, the new
Middle East dynamics giving the popular protests throughout the region, and the
prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Obama last hosted
Peres at the White House in 2009.
A statement released by the White House
Press secretary last Thursday noted that Obama was looking forward to discussing
with Peres “the full range of issues of common concern, including US-Israeli
security cooperation, recent developments across the Middle East, and the
pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors.” The consensus among
political pundits in Israel is that Peres is paving the way for Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu whose previous meetings with Obama have not been exactly
fruitful. It is thought that Israel’s elder statesman might be more effective in
explaining Israel’s position to Obama than Netanyahu, his eloquence
notwithstanding, has been to date.
Peres is also expected to urge the
United States to take a tougher stand on Iran and take a more realistic look at
developments in Gaza.
Peres is also scheduled to meet with Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and leading members of Congress
before departing for New York on Wednesday.
While political issues will
be at the forefront of their talks, it is anticipated that other important
matters such as securing the release of Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity and
Jonathan Pollard from US captivity will be raised by Peres.
wife Esther wrote Peres on Friday requesting an urgent meeting with him ahead of
his departure to Washington on Sunday to see US President Barack
Esther Pollard said she needed no more than five minutes with
Peres, who was prime minister at the time of her husband’s arrest more than 25
years ago, but that she desperately needed to deliver him an urgent
“Jonathan has asked me to personally deliver a private message
from him before you leave to meet with the president of the United States,”
Esther wrote Peres.
As well, in the context of this meeting I would like
to update you on Jonathan’s medical condition.”
Esther Pollard is
expected to urge Peres to ask Obama to commute her husband’s life sentence ahead
of Pessah, a holiday that celebrates freedom.
Peres has made no public
comments about Pollard recently despite a wave of endorsements for his release
from top Israeli and American public officials, including Netanyahu and former
American presidential candidate John McCain.