Shimon Peres is in Washington to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which will be awarded in a dinner tonight to be attended by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Peres is expectedto deliver a petition with 70,000 signatures requesting Jonathan Pollard’s release. There’s also a meeting with Obama and Biden this afternoon, following sit-downs with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here’s what we know so far about how they went down:
• With Panetta on Monday, Peres said, “No responsible country in the world can accept the situation in which the Middle East falls victim to Iranian hegemony…Time is running out, as Iran continues its accelerated race toward a nuclear bomb, continuing to lie and deceive.”
• Clinton threw some mild rebuke in Russia’s direction, sharing the stage yesterday with Peres at the Saban Center’s anniversary at Brookings to say that the U.S. has “confronted” Russia about arming Syria. She said the U.S. was displeased to see that Russian attack helicopters were on their way to Syria. Meanwhile, Peres took the opportunity to say that the Arab League has to take the lead on Syria intervention. “I would say gentlemen, you sent observers, now you know the situation, what is your proposal? You don’t want anybody else to intervene because this would be foreign intervention. OK, do it yourself, and the United Nations would support you.”
• By the way, Moscow will be hosting that third round of negotiations over nuclear activities with Iran and global powers in the next couple of days, and Putin is heading to Jerusalem very, very soon.
In the meantime, Ron Kampeas assesses Peres’s legacy and the fact that it took him nearly reaching age 90 to be popular. He writes that “Peres always seemed doomed to defeat at the polls because of everything he was not: a soldier, a sabra, a gladhander, a gladiator in Israel’s rough-and-tumble political arena.” But now, he’s being appreciated for being “the fixer who married Israel to the West.” Also: Not a rapist.
Shimon Peres Has Journeyed From ‘Loser’ To Israel’s Most Popular Public Figure [JTA]
US: Iran To Be Given ‘Clear Path’ To End Nuclear Impasse [AFP]
Operation Jonathan Underway [Ynet]
Clinton, Peres Discuss Syria, Iran At Washington Event [Middle East Voices]