Israeli President Shimon Peres left on Saturday night for an official visit to Washington, D.C.

He will be attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual conference today, honoring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to represent Israel at the event.

AIPAC is widely known as Israel’s unofficial lobby organization. Mr. Peres will deliver the main address before the conference today. The president’s office announced he “will discuss the need for Israel to make peace and will emphasize that we are entering a decisive year in the Middle East.”

Mr. Peres will also meet with high-level America policymakers, including: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

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He also plans to visit New York and meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The Israeli president’s office says Mr. Peres plans to seek to broaden strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S., provide a thorough analysis of the advancement of the peace process with the Palestinians and try to work to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions during his meetings with Mr. Obama and other U.S. leaders.

Mr. Peres’ press secretary said he plans to grant a number of interviews to television, radio and print magazines, including: Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, National Public Radio, Wolf Blitzer on CNN, and Joe Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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