WASHINGTON -- Israeli president Shimon Peres met with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday to lay the groundwork for the upcoming meeting between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 18 at the White House.
After a longer-than-expected visit with Obama, Peres cautiously endorsed new U.S. gestures to Iran. It is the latest sign that the White House is increasing pressure on Israel on several fronts.
Peres came out of his meeting with President Obama and said the U.S. and Israel were 100 percent on the same page when it came to dealing with Iran. Obama said protecting Israel's security was a top priority for the U.S. But Peres did reject the idea of linking the Iranian issue of stopping Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and negotiations with the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference that Israel must accept a two-state solution with the Palestinians. He also called on Israel to stop building any new settlements in the West Bank and stop natural growth within existing settlements. These are the Jewish communities throughout the area many Jews refer to as the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria.
In response to Biden, Peres said Israel can't tell its people to stop having babies and not get married.
It exposes one more major difference between Israel and the U.S. just less than two weeks away from the critical meeting between Netanyahu and President Obama.