Daily Israel Report

Mofaz Thanks Obama During Surprise Meeting

Deputy PM Mofaz meets unexpectedly with President Obama, thanks him for his support of Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/22/2012, 1:14 AM

Shaul Mofaz
Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz had an unscheduled meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday.

The President unexpectedly joined a meeting between Mofaz and National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon, at the White House.

During the meeting, which lasted for over half an hour, Mofaz briefed the President on the challenges facing Israel and the region. He pointed to the newly formed coalition in the Knesset as a window of opportunity to restart talks with the Palestinian Authority.

When discussing the Iranian nuclear threat, Mofaz emphasized the importance imposing harsher sanctions on Tehran while continuing to prepare other options which would prevent the Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He also emphasized to the President that maintaining the peace treaty with Egypt is of paramount importance to Israel. Finally, Mofaz thanked Obama for his steadfast support of Israel.

On Wednesday, Mofaz met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary. During this meeting as well he said that it was imperative that Iran's nuclear program be stopped, and that no option should be taken off the table.

“After the failure at the third round of talks with the Iranians in Moscow, it is time for the United States and the Western powers to impose more severe sanctions in the oil embargo and financial sectors in order to stop Iran's nuclear development program,” Mofaz said at the meeting. He added that in addition to these measures there is a need “to continue to prepare all of the other options.”

On Wednesday, Clinton also met with Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat. The meeting was part of the Obama administration's diplomatic efforts to get Israel and the PA to return to peace talks.

U.S. officials said the goal of the efforts is to improve the atmosphere for direct talks that broke down three years ago.

Mofaz has publicly called on Abbas to take advantage of the large coalition and begin peace negotiations.

Speaking at a meeting of the Kadima council, Mofaz addressed Abbas, saying, “Forget the letters, forget the preconditions - Let's talk peace now. The coalition today is the widest ever, and this allows for a political breakthrough.”