In a rare step, President Shimon Peres Thursday afternoon publicly refuted a
front-page story published in Haaretz that morning purporting to know what he
will say about Iran to US President Barack Obama when the two meet in Washington
As an opening statement in his address to the Conference of
Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at the penultimate session of
its convention in Jerusalem, Peres said the story was more imaginative than
Peres made very clear that he has never revealed the content
of what he intended to say to American leaders prior to meeting with
He apologized to his audience regarding the Haaretz article, but
did not mention the newspaper by name.
Peres will travel to the United
States next week to open the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference
and receive a life-achievement award.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
will also address the conference and he and Peres will have separate meetings
with Obama, who is also scheduled to speak at the conference, to be held from
March 4 to 6.
While in the US, Peres will on March 6 visit Facebook
headquarters in Silicon Valley, and interviewed by Facebook founder Mark
Zuckerman. The two will also launch a new international Facebook page for Peres,
with special emphasis on young people in Arab countries who will be invited by
Peres to be his friends for peace.
In his address to the Conference of
Presidents in Jerusalem, Peres credited Facebook for initiating uprisings in
various Arab countries after learning through modern technology what life was
like beyond their borders, and opting for a new system that was free of poverty,
corruption, dictatorship and discrimination against women.
confident that with the right kind of vision, countries of the Middle East could
emulate India and China, which have instituted internal change “because they
understood the new age.”
On the issue of the Israeli- Palestinian
conflict, Peres ruled out the chances of a bi-national state, saying that this
would be the wrong solution and lead to ongoing conflict because no one could
guarantee that disagreements would merely be a dispute of words that would not
develop into armed conflict.
The best solution said Peres, is a two-state
solution. He favored negotiating with the present of the Palestinian leadership,
because he said the only other alternative was to negotiate with Hamas, “a
branch of Iran.”
Peres said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Abbas understands there cannot be conflict without end, and that compromise is
needed on both sides.
“There is no peace without cost and there is no war
without cost,” said Peres, adding that he preferred the cost of peace.