President Shimon Peres plans to tell U.S. President Barack H. Obama that he is opposed to Israeli military action in Iran, a report published in the Hebrew-language newspaper Ha'aretz said Thursday. Peres plans to discuss Iran with Obama when he visits the U.S. at the beginning of March, according to the report.
Peres is set to leave for the U.S. next Tuesday, and will meet with Obama in Washington the following Sunday, on the sidelines of the annual AIPAC convention. The meeting will take place a day before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington, and he, too, is set to meet with Obama.
The meeting with Peres, the report said, will revolve around the issues of Iran and negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Thus Obama will be familiar with Peres' thoughts, likely representing the “dovish” side of the current government, when he meets with Netanyahu a day after the Peres meeting.
The report said that Peres has in recent days told Israeli and American officials that the hawkish statements by some Israeli officials on the possibility of an Iran attack is “unnecessary warmongering,” and that Israel should leave the Iran issue to the U.S. and other world powers.
In an interview Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would make up its own mind on how to deal with Iran, regardless of pressure from the U.S. and Russia not to do so. Israel's decisions in this regard, Lieberman said, is “not the business” of either Washington or Moscow.
Regarding the negotiations with the PA, Peres is likely to tell Obama that Israel still sees PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a full partner in negotiations, the best one currently on the entity's political landscape.