Peres speaking 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
President Shimon Peres said that Israel cannot survive without the help of the United States, at a Jerusalem conference of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute on Thursday.
Peres said that, "for our existence, we need the friendship of the United States of America."
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Speaking of how Israel can give back to the US, he said that just "as
the US is trying to understand the security needs of Israel, we Israelis
ourselves must understand the security needs of the US." He continued,
"We cannot give back to the United States what the US is giving us, but
in our own small way, we can be of help."
Connecting two of the largest issues on the Israeli - and American -
agenda, the president said Israel could be of help to the US by enabling
an "anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East, and the contribution will
not be by declaration, but if we stop the secondary conflict between us and the
Palestinians," in order to allow the US to focus on the Iranian threat.
Peres also spoke of the former US president's foreign policy in the
Middle East, saying that he appreciates George Bush's "attempt to expose
them [Arab states] to democracy, but is that possible?" The president
explained his thought, adding that it is "very difficult to come to a
king and tell him to go to elections."
Driving home the point, he said that "it would be like inviting a turkey
to a Thanksgiving feast." Peres said that he believed "Muslims should
be able to choose their own path."