Peres arrives in D.C.
Shimon Peres arrived in Washington for a three-day visit that will include a meeting with President Obama.
Peres, who arrived Monday, will discuss “security cooperation between Israel and the United States, recent developments in the Middle East, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors,” during his meeting with Obama, according to a statement from Peres’ office.
He is scheduled to meet as well with other administration officials, including on Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The White House said Peres is scheduled to have a “working lunch” Tuesday with President Obama. Israeli media have reported that Peres will present Obama with the outlines of the peace plan that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects to introduce in an address at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy forum next month.
In a meeting Sunday before Peres’ departure, Netanyahu reportedly asked Peres to send a message to American officials that he is willing to renew peace talks with the Palestinians and that the Palestinians were responsible for the current impasse, Ynet reported.
Peres on Wednesday will visit Capitol Hill for meetings with Republican and Democratic leaders, and will be hosted by the House of Representatives speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio). He also reportedly is scheduled to meet with Vice President Joe Biden.
The Israeli president will fly to New York midweek for additional meetings, including with the United Nations ambassadors of the current Security Council member countries. On Wednesday he will attend a dinner hosted by the Center for Middle East Peace, a think tank with close Obama administration ties.
Prior to leaving for the United States, Peres met Sunday with Jonathan Pollard’s wife, who said she asked the Israeli president to request clemency for her husband from Obama.
“The president listened to me, and I hope and believe that [what I told him] penetrated his heart,” Esther Pollard told The Jerusalem Post.
Jonathan Pollard has been imprisoned in the United States for 25 years for spying for Israel while working as a civilian analyst for the U.S. Navy. The Pollards married while Jonathan was in prison.
Current and former U.S. lawmakers and government officials have called on Obama in recent weeks to grant clemency to Pollard.