“Please don’t stop your efforts to bring peace to the Middle East,” President
Shimon Peres said on Sunday in his parting remarks to US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, with whom he conducted an hour-long working session before they
both made statements to the media.
In welcoming Clinton to his official
residence, Peres described her as “a constant friend” and said that she was
“blowing the wind of freedom” all over the world.
The two discussed the
changes taking place in the Middle East, Clinton’s visit to Egypt, the ongoing
Iranian problem, the wholesale slaughter that is ravaging the Syrian population
and the chances of releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian
The Pollard question comes up in all of Peres’s discussions with
American leadership and influential American figures.
Across the road
from the President’s Residence, activists in the Justice for Jonathan Pollard
group were joined by children holding poster boards bearing the faces and
statements of Pollard, Peres, Henry Kissinger, former CIA director James
Woolsey, former Mideast envoy Dennis Ross and even Clinton herself, who have all
at some point expressed support for releasing the jailed spy.
youngsters chanted in English: “Justice, justice, free Pollard,” “Justice,
justice, he should be released” and “Justice, justice, enough is
Peres told Clinton how much Israelis appreciated that she came
to the country immediately following her visit to Egypt. Israel was particularly
interested in her impressions, he said, because Egypt is the key country in the
Middle East, and peace is dependant on Egypt and Israel continuing the march to
Peres credited Clinton with introducing a new brand of diplomacy
which is not only government to government, but people to people, and which sets
a precedent as “a diplomacy of values, and not just a diplomacy of
Peres thanked Clinton for her efforts in trying to bring
about peace between Israel and her neighbors, and said that Israel is interested
in keeping peace with her largest Arab neighbor, Egypt. Peace between Israel and
Egypt has saved thousands of Egyptian and Israeli lives, he said.
president also acknowledged Clinton and US President Barack Obama’s handling of
the Iran issue, while leaving all options on the table.
Terror is a
danger to everyone he said, and everyone must understand that Iran must be
prevented from endangering the lives, freedom and independence of
Peres also expressed the hope that Iran could soon return to its
former culture and become a free nation that is neither under threat nor
threatening to others.
Peres also declared the violence in Syria to be
raging out of control, and applauded the unprecedented condemnation from the
Arab League, of which Syria is a member, against Syrian policy.
like to see the children of Syria safe and not assassinated by their own
dictator,” said Peres, who suggested that the US lead a combined international
effort against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Returning momentarily to
the subject of Iran, Peres said that while confronting the Iranian challenge,
chances for peace – first and foremost with the Palestinians – should not be
“We should not give up hope,” he said. “We should be consistent
Clinton, who shares a long friendship with Peres, said
that she was delighted to be with him once more and to benefit from his advice
Relating to the changes and transformations in the region,
she said that while there was a lot of uncertainty, there were also
opportunities to advance the goals of people seeking a better
Echoing Obama’s words that no one has done as much as Peres to
build an alliance between Israel and the United States, Clinton added that no
one knows better than Peres the inextricable link between peace and
She congratulated Peres on completing his fifth year in office,
thereby reaching yet another milestone. She also wished him an early happy
birthday ahead of him reaching his 89th year in the first week of
Peres and Clinton, who at all their meetings with the media make
a point of emphasizing their friendship, walked out to her car with their arms
wrapped around each other.