President Shimon Peres is expected to tell U.S. President Barack Obama early next month that he does not believe Israel should attack Iran in the near future.
Political and diplomatic officials who are familiar with Peres' positions and are helping prepare for the Obama meeting said yesterday Peres has been apprised of all sensitive information involving Iran.
According to these officials, Peres is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's position on Iran, while Defense Minister Ehud Barak is perceived, at least by the Americans, as pushing for an attack.
Peres told officials that there is no point in what he called the "unceasing self-intimidation" being voiced by senior Israeli spokesmen. This is what he intends to tell Obama.
Peres has told officials that the recent threats by Israel are unnecessary warmongering and that Israel should leave the Iran issue to the superpowers, first and foremost the United States.
Peres leaves for the United States on Tuesday, and the following Sunday he is to meet with Obama in Washington on the sidelines of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
Peres' meeting with the U.S. president will take place a day before Netanyahu meets with Obama. Netanyahu will arrive in Washington after a visit to Canada.
The meeting between Peres and Obama will deal mainly with Iran, but also with the stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
When Obama meets with Netanyahu, he will already know what Peres thinks - information he will use in his meeting with Netanyahu.
Peres is expected to tell Obama that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is still the best Palestinian partner with whom to reach a peace agreement.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview yesterday that Israel will not bow to U.S. and Russian pressure in deciding whether to attack Iran.
Speaking on Channel 2, Lieberman rebuffed suggestions that warnings against striking Iran would affect Israeli decision making, saying the decision "is not their business."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now