US-Israel rift on nuclear Iran unabridged by Obama-Peres talks

Neither US president Barack Obama and Israeli president Shimon Peres hinted publicly that their conversation at the White House Tuesday, May 5, debkafile left the two governments as out of tune as before on the handling of Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb.
The meeting was intended to lay the groundwork for the US president’s first talks with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu on May 18-19 and ease some of their fundamental differences. But after parroting his predecessors’ standard guarantee to uphold Israel’s security, Obama made no bones about his determination to engage in dialogue with Iran – “although this is not the only option.”
George W. Bush similarly left other options on the table too, but never went beyond failed sanctions to delay Iran’s progress on its nuclear weapons program. For now, Tehran is too far advanced to consider falling back, as Obama, Peres and worst of all Ayatollah Ali Khamenei understand all too well.
Peres went through the motions of arguing that Europe’s appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s resulted
in a war which left 50 million dead including six million Jews, but Obama remained unmoved. Later, the Israeli president said he was reassured that the United States under Obama would not allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons. “As long as the goal is clear, why not try all means? If you can achieve it by engagement, God bless you.”
The US president promised nothing – neither a time limit for his diplomatic experiment with Tehran nor how America would respond to its failure. Neither did he address the fundamental concern shared by Israel and other pro-Western nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia that the dialogue in itself granted Iran the gift of time to attain nuclearization.
Obama and Peres also sidestepped a clash on the Palestinian question, although his advisers made it clear that the president wanted to see a Palestinian state by 2012.
The Israeli president downplayed differences by quoting Netanyahu as saying he would honor the commitments of previous Israeli governments, which accepted the roadmap to Middle East peace. “In the roadmap, you’ll find the attitude to the two-state solution,” Peres said.
Obama left it to vice president Joseph Biden to inform the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference where the administration stands: “Israel has to work toward a two-state solution,” Biden said Tuesday night. “You’re not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement.”
in their short conversation, the Palestinian issue figured second or third down after Iran as the main topic of interest. This order of business could change when Obama meets Netanyahu later this month.

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