Entries in Shimon Peres (6)


Hillary Clinton's Meeting with Israeli Leaders Packed with Topics

Win McNamee/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- How much more could Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have had on her plate when she held talks with leaders in Israel on Monday?

Besides trying to reaffirm the strong partnership between the U.S. and Israel that has gotten shakier during the Obama administration, Clinton spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about his nation's sputtering peace process with the Palestinians, the nuclear threat posed by Iran, the ongoing conflict in Syria and the challenges facing Egypt's new leader and government.

Still, Clinton, in what could be her final visit to Israel as America's top envoy, acknowledged, "We’re living in a time of unprecedented change, a lot of challenges for us both.  And we will continue to consult chart the best way forward for peace and stability for Israel, the United States, the region and the world."

Besides her meeting with Netanyahu, Clinton also held discussions with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and President Shimon Peres, and with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Peres said following his meeting with Clinton that Israel and Egypt must abide by their 1979 peace treaty despite the change in governance while also condemning the 16 months of violence in Syria that could destabilize the region if the two sides escalate hostilities.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Israel’s Shimon Peres

Uriel Sinai/Getty Image(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama presented the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Israeli President Shimon Peres Wednesday night, calling him “the essence of Israel itself -- an indomitable spirit that will not be denied.”

"Shimon teaches us to never settle for the world as it is. We have a vision for the world as it ought to be, and we have to strive for it,” Obama said at a White House dinner in Peres’ honor.  “He knows what we must never forget: With faith in ourselves and courage in our hearts, no dream is too big, no vision is beyond our reach.”

The president said the longtime Israeli leader knows the “necessity of strength” but also that a nation’s security depends on “the righteousness of its deeds -- its moral compass.”

Obama praised Peres for strengthening the “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel, saying “no individual has done so much over so many years to build our alliance and to bring our two nations closer.”

Accepting the award, Peres, 88, said it was a “testament to the historic friendship between our two nations.”

”I receive this honor today on behalf of the people of Israel.  They are the true recipients of this honor.  With this moving gesture, you are paying, Mr. President, tribute to generations upon generations of Jews who dreamed of, fought for a state of their own -- a state that would give them a shelter; a state that they could really defend by themselves,” he said.

"On their behalf, I thank you.  I thank America for days of concern, for sleepless nights, caring for our safety, caring for our future,” he said.

Peres also discussed the threats facing Israel today, notably rising concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

"It is our responsibility to our own people, to our friends throughout the world, to posterity, that the Iranian threat must be stopped, and it cannot be delayed,” he said, thanking Obama for building a coalition to meet this threat.

"You started, rightly, with economic sanctions.  You made it clear -- rightly, again -- that all options are on the table. Clearly, we support you and your policy,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israeli President Reaches Out to Iranian People

Uriel Sinai/Getty Image(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres delivered a message to the people of Iran Wednesday, calling for peace and understanding.

Peres' olive branch comes as the Iranian government has not been deterred from its goal of the destruction of Israel, while the Israeli government has made no secret about possibly launching a preemptive strike to knock out Iran's nuclear program once and for all.

Yet, Peres' remarks to the Israeli parliament on its 63rd anniversary was a refreshing change of pace compared to the constant saber rattling that has underscored the enmity Israel and Iran have had for each other since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that deposed the Shah of Iran.

Peres said, "We were not born enemies and there is no need to live as enemies.  Do not allow the flags of hostility to cast a dark shadow over your historic heritage.  Your people are a sensitive people that aspire for friendship and peace, and not for conflicts and wars."

On the other hand, Peres let Iran's leaders have it right between the eyes, "Iran is not only a threat for Israel, it constitutes a real danger to humanity as a whole.  The present Iranian regime is Imperialism-hungry, aspiring to be the region's supreme ruler."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israeli President Signals Attack on Iran Might Be Imminent

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- It would appear now that news leaked about a possible preemptive strike by Israel to knock out Iran's nuclear program is more viable than previously believed.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday went as far as to tell the Israel Hayom newspaper that "the possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option."

Peres' declaration comes just as the International Atomic Energy Agency gets set to release its latest study on Tehran's nuclear program, which the U.S., Israel and the West says is designed to create a weapons stockpile despite the government's long series of denials.

Last week, there were reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister were lobbying the Israeli Cabinet for permission to hit Iran's nuclear sites.  In addition, Israel also conducted ballistic missile tests and civil defense drills, a sign that the country may be preparing a major military operation.

Peres tempered the possibility of an imminent military attack against Iran by saying, "We must stay calm and resist pressure so that we can consider every alternative.  I don’t think that any decision has already been made, but there is an impression that Iran is getting closer to nuclear weapons."

Iran has already said it would strike back hard against Israel if any attack occurs and would also take revenge against the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WH Condemns New Israeli Settlements Announced on Eve of Israeli President’s Visit

AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- "The United States is deeply concerned by continuing Israeli actions with respect to settlement construction," said White House National Security Staff spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Not exactly a "Welcome Shimon Peres" card.

But then again -- for not the first time of the Obama presidency -- a U.S.-Israel meeting featured the overture of an announcement of new Israeli settlement permits, despite continued U.S. opposition to new Israeli settlement activity on disputed territories.

Israeli President Shimon Peres is due to have a working lunch at the White House Tuesday, but as Mr. Vietor notes, the Obama administration is "concerned" about the recent announcement by the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee of approval of 942 housing units on the Southern Slopes of Gilo, in addition to the Israeli government's approval over the weekend of hundreds of apartments in West Bank settlements Gush Etzion, Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel, and Kiryat Sefer, as reported by Ha'aretz.

"Not only are continued Israeli settlements illegitimate, Israel’s actions run counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations," Vietor said.

Elie Isaacson, an adviser to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, told The New York Times that the timing was coincidence.

“There are no secrets whatsoever,” Isaacson said. “The plan is merely going from one bureaucratic stage to the next bureaucratic stage. The building policy in Jerusalem has been the same for 40 years.”

In February, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning as "illegal" the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied territory, but the matter was debated within the administration.

In March 2010, Vice President Biden was greeted in Israel with the news of the Israeli Interior Ministry approving 1,600 new housing units for Jews in Ramat Shlomo, in East Jerusalem. White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod called it an “affront” and an “insult."

“What it did was it made more difficult a very difficult process,” Axelrod said, adding that the move “seemed calculated to undermine” the so-called proximity talks going on between the Palestinians and the Israelis.  In an interview with ABC News that same month, Vice President Biden denied that he had told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that settlement activity put the lives of troops at risk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


U.N. Kicks off 65th General Assembly in New York

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(UNITED NATIONS) -- Heads of state from around the world, including the U.S., Iran, China, Haiti, Zimbabwe, and Palestine, gathered in New York Thursday morning for the 65th United Nations General Assembly. The debate began with remarks from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“In Afghanistan, we carry on our work despite exceptionally difficult security and humanitarian conditions," Ban said. "We will seek to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula." The Secretary General's speech highlighted what he called diplomatic victories of the United Nations in the midst of some of the world’s most pressing conflicts. "On Iran, we continue to urge the government to engage constructively with the international community," Ban told the assembly. "In the Middle East, we see encouraging movement toward a comprehensive peace.”

President Obama addressed the assembly Thursday. Absent from the room during Obama's speech was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israeli President Shimon Peres. The Israeli delegation was not at the U.N. Thursday in observance of the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

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