"I thank you for your friendship to the State of Israel and the Jewish people – under your leadership our strategic relations have reached new heights."
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, met today with President Obama at the White House. President Obama asked President Peres to join him at a meeting with the leadership of the Jewish community in the US; hosted a working lunch with Vice President Biden, National Security Advisor Rice and senior White House and State Department staff; and the two conducted a private meeting in the Oval Office.
After the meetings President Peres spoke to the media and told them that President Obama had said that his heart was with the families of the kidnapped boys and that the USA will continue to support Israel in doing everything possible to ensure their safe return. President Peres updated President Obama on the military operation and stressed that Israel would not let up until they are brought back home. President Peres expressed his appreciation for President Obama and said, "I thank you for your friendship to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Under your leadership our strategic relations have reached new heights."
During the working lunch, attended by Vice President Biden and National Security Advisor Rice, President Peres and President Obama discussed the Iranian issue, the developments in Iraq and the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. President Obama made clear the United States’ support for Israel’s security and added that the relations and cooperation between the two countries would remain a key element of US policy in the region. President Obama also made clear that the US position on Iran remains the same – Iran would not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons and that any deal would ensure that.
Addressing the peace process with the Palestinians, President Peres said, "We must do everything to return to the diplomatic track" and added that President Abbas is a partner for peace while Hamas is a terrorist organization, "It is impossible to mix fire and water in the same glass. We should welcome President Abbas’s brave words in Saudi Arabia terror and against the kidnappers. He risked his life with that statement, we must strengthen the moderate forces and fight against the terrorist organizations, first and foremost Hamas."
During their private meeting President Peres raised once the more the request to release Jonathan Pollard and made clear that Israel was united in this request, that after 30 years and considering his ill-health, Pollard should be released on humanitarian grounds.