Obama's Meeting with Peres May Test New Relationship
By Scott Wilson
President Obama's meeting with Shimon Peres this afternoon will mark a first step in the new administration's relationship with Israel. But it comes at a time when the two governments disagree sharply over what constitutes the biggest long-term threat to the Jewish state and how best to achieve peace in the region.
Peres, Israel's president, is serving mostly as a scout on this trip to Washington on behalf of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who took office at the end of March and will meet with Obama for the first time on May 18. Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial post, and Peres, as a former prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is his country's most recognizable ambassador.
But he is representing an Israeli government that does not share his views -- nor, more importantly, the Obama administration's -- on how to make peace with the Palestinians.
Peres and Obama agree that the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel -- roughly along the lines of the pre-June1967 borders -- is the best way to preserve Israel's security and character as a Jewish and democratic state.
Posted at 12:24 PM ET on May 5, 2009
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