Jerusalem, July 16 — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a day-long trip to Israel Monday, met with Israeli President Shimon Peres to discuss regional issues ranging from the importance of maintaining the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty and restarting peace talks with the Palestinians to the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the civil war in Syria.
"It is in moments like these that friends like us have to think together, act together,” Clinton told Peres when they met. “We are called to be smart, creative and courageous." Clinton also praised Peres, saying “no individual has done so much over so many years to build our alliance between our two countries.” She added that “few people know better …the inextricable links between security and peace.”
Clinton also said she was in Israel at a “moment of great change and transformation in the region. It is a time of uncertainty,” she said, “but also of opportunity. It is a chance to advance our shared goal of security, stability, peace, and democracy, along with prosperity for the millions of people in this region who have yet to see a better future.”
It was the secretary of state’s first visit to Israel since September 2010 and came on the heels of a meeting in Egypt with newly elected President Mohamed Morsi. In addition to Peres, Clinton’s schedule includes meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Secretary Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. She met recently in Paris with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Morsi, during his meeting with Clinton, reportedly told her he would abide by Egypt’s treaty with Israel. Peres, focusing on that agreement, said, "I think that for the last thirty years the fact there was peace between us and Egypt saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people in Egypt and Israel and this is a worthwhile cause."
Peres, in his remarks, referred to Clinton as the “wind of freedom blowing through the world” and said he appreciated her work mediating negotiations with the Palestinians. Peres also spoke about the need to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The president also warned against losing sight of peace with the Palestinians as attention is focused on Iran. Iran, which funds and trains proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, has vowed to share its nuclear know-how with like-minded entities, repeatedly threatening to destroy Israel and, said Peres, is a threat to Jews and Arabs alike.
Said Peres, “There is a global understanding that Iran must be stopped from endangering the lives of others.”