Israeli President Shimon Peres held a private meeting on Monday with President Barack Obama.
On Tuesday, details of that meeting emerged.
An expanded meeting consisting representatives of the U.S. and Israeli governments preceded the private meeting between the two presidents.
Ron Dermer, adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Sallai Meridor; and Mr. Peres’ adviser, Avi Gil, participated.
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, National Security Adviser James Jones and the director of the Middle East department at the National Security Council, Dan Shapiro, represented the American side during the prior meeting.
During the private meeting, Mr. Obama said the American commitment to the State of Israel’s security was unequivocal and would find expression throughout the president’s entire term. This commitment to Israel’s security is at the top of the United States’ priorities, Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Peres took the opportunity to talk about matters connected with Iran in order to explain one of Israel’s concerns to Mr. Obama.
He said: “We must not repeat the terrible mistake that brought about the atrocity of the Holocaust, he said. Iran is the world’s problem, not only Israel’s, but it disturbs us very much, mainly because of our history as Jews. You must understand: after what we as Jews have gone through, we must open our eyes to reality, and reality is extremely disturbing.”
President Obama mentioned his future meeting with the prime minister of Israel, saying: “I look forward to my meeting with Netanyahu and am sure that we will be able to work together in positive cooperation,” he said.
Mr. Peres said his earlier meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took place in an excellent atmosphere.
“She asked me many questions about the composition of the coalition,” he said. He commented that he and Clinton had spoken about Hamas, “which lives according to the religious dictates of eternity, as compared with a political organization like Fatah, which must hold negotiations.”
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org