Peres denies opposing Iran strike

President refutes 'Haaretz' story saying he would tell Obama he doesn't "believe Israel should attack Iran" in near future.

President Shimon Peres Conference of Presidents 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
President Shimon Peres Conference of Presidents 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
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 next month.
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 informative.
Peres made very clear that he has never revealed the content of what he intended to say to American leaders prior to meeting with them.
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.
Peres was 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.